Palladium: Reason and Existence

141. The Healer Dead

Following a couple of days additional travel the group were approached by a God Glass Cultist to join the cult and assist Fortune in the Web of Power she wanted to weave against Death and the Sandwyrms. An offer being made to virtually every member of the army from King to peasant.

The group declined.

Emalf learned of Andrakasis’ presence in the camp and decided to drop in on the ‘prisoner’ if he was still there.

He and the rest of the party arrived at the Imperimundi’s tent only to find all the major players in audience.

Fortune’s mention of her messengers failing to find the group to notify them (Emalf presumed the idiot had forgotten during his attempts to lead them into religious indoctrination) of the gathering saw Emalf struggle between confronting the messengers, passing through the audience to meet with Andrakasis and staying to participate.

The combination of every one from King Lastus to Hymerra Iron vein in disguise, Calibrey, a goblin elder of the monster races, general Arn/Ethimas and others prompted them to stay as Fortune covered the plans supporting army and the limited measures taken to prepare for further Cultist and future Sandwyrm attacks.

She solicited suggestions to these problems but no suitable idea was put forward.

Medicii Celine Vercad (a viscera appearing as a high ranking healer) commented on Rashyr’s inadequate healing and Fortune’s condition. She volunteered Dawn’s services, but found the group staunchly defending Rashyr and suggesting her capabilities were those of a charlatan.

They challenged her to heal the Imperimundi at that moment before them all, but Medicii Vercad indicated her illness would need greater review before healing would be possible.

King Jeshuan Lastus interrupted proceedings to ask when Andrakasis would be executed, and the group promptly turn their agitation at the king that has so often both provoked them and needed their help.

As they argued the former witch king, having freed himself emerged from the annex tent with his daughter whom had been visiting.

Jeshuan made the mistake of drawing his sword and soon found it telekinetically lodged in his gut. A condition that would have been fatal had not Medicii Vercad taken it in hand.

The man thought to be referred to as the general prophecy had overheard the council and opted to tell them what they needed to do before he ceased the farce of his incarceration.

He told them that Fortune has discussed many things with him whilst he had been her ‘prisoner’, but that he could not suggest the necessary steps to a child devoted to saving everyone around her as she would never pass them on to those experienced enough to see the merit of the plans.

Andrakasis explained they could not treat zealous enemies that considered death an honour like any other adversary. It was critical that they be defeated or killed on terms dictated by the army and not their own.

He went on to say that losses on the 10s of 1000s crossing the Baalgor were inevitable and they should accept and control what was lost. That they should choose the lambs to be slaughtered and send them to their deaths at the Sandwyrm feeding ground so the army proper might reach Necropolis relatively unmolested.

He suggested that fast riders would be ideal as mobility might prolong the time bought, but that in planning for the worst they should send enough fodder to the site to keep hundreds of wyrms eating it fighting over the scraps for weeks.

He said this was essential because the danger of the wyrms was great, but what the fear of them might do to survivors could defeat far more than their hunger. For every 1 person eaten, thousands could see and learn crippling terror of them… Better only the dead see them and the army morale preserved.

Then without waiting for questions he led his daughter to the exit and leaning towards Emalf asked that he keep her safe and he left.

Emalf stopped Peril from following her father as Echo rushed after the man to discuss matters only they would know.

2 days travel later the camp was attacked as never before but cultists. The group were awoken to find signs of no less than 6 nearby attacks underlay. The split up and moved to engage the groups of 30-50 cultists.

The cultists were clearly newer recruits and as dangerous as they were, they lacked the advanced magic of previous attacks.

As the battle continued, more fights spring up and before long it became clear the command tent was the focus.

Having littered the camp with Cultist courses, the group each began to fight/make their way toward the command tent.

There they found hundreds of cultists swarming from all sides of the tent and Echo came upon Pandora Zayven and her witches approaching the conflict. The coven leader seemed indifferent to the massacre taking place and instead focused on the summoner.

Pandora reminded Echo off her pact to return Emalf and Echo suggested coven help at that moment would go along way to winning the Imperimundi’s favour. When Echo assented, the witches entered the fray with devils fire in hand.

Pandora herself, entered communion with her master and brought the power of the God himself to the field. In moments scores of death cultists were consumed by the devils will.

Though the tent remained surrounded on all other fronts, the group entered the command centre to find it filled with cultists and corpses, but the cultists had begun withdrawing.

With each second more cultists cut the tent walls with their sacrificial daggers and flowed out of the tent in a malevolent stream.

Pandora sent corpses flying and aflame through the roof of the pavilion and Echo directed her to deal with the fleeing forces outside the tent.

The figure, currently synonymous with Satan himself, stepped in a trance like march outside the tent and the ground detonated in pillars of fire.
The group continued to the Imperimundi’s own chamber and there they found most of her guards dead and the girl sobbing “we’re dead” over Rashyr Gondvalla’s corpse.

Though The Blade attempted a communion that might allow her to raise the dead, the God eluded her and though Emalf commanded Orbray-Ell restore his friend to life, she was unable.

Echo saw the light of the moon draw over the tent, she knew the stakes of allowing Fortune to use her power and convinced the girl to stop.

As Echo counselled the girl and Orbray-Ell futilely tried to return life to Rahsyr, Emalf dashed from the tent. He would return later, making no mention of where he had been.

In the aftermath, Rashyr was still dead.

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