Descending Air 18
The exalts had barely had time to gather their thoughts when they heard a voice calling out in the evening air.
“Hey, Anathema! Crawl out from your hole and face your doom. Stop corrupting these good people and face judgement for your crimes.”
Mal went up the t of the castle walls and peeked down incredulously. This young Dragon-Blood was standing, brazen as the day, calling them out in front of their own people. He was telling lies and defaming their character! Well, mostly telling lies…
The exalts knew that this had to be a trap off some description, and resolved to do nothing for the moment – let him yell his (mostly) baseless accusations. But when the locals started to pek out of their windows and pay attention, and talk amongst themselves of the horrors of the Anathema, the exalts knew they had to act, somehow.
Vlad descended into the tunnels below the fort, and began to make his way towards the cathedral. He was hoping to find Ulrich and borrow a few of the Scarlet Cloaks to force this Dragon Blood away from the crowds. Mal felt a little more aggressive and snuck out and blended into the crowd, where he began to spread his own stories, of how the mighty anathema killed the invading Jotunn, fought the plage and the legions. This didn’t quite have the effect he was expecting, as the bloodthirsty stories of the vengeful anathema seemed to gain the most traction, and he people began to get scared of the exalts.
With so many of the locals voicing their fear of the anathema, the vocal Dragon-Blood began to change his tune, and saying that as no anathema had come forward to counter his tales, they must have fled, and left all their ill -gotten loot inside the fort. Many of the younger and more adventurous of the poor locals were coming forward to form a mob, eager to storm the fort and gain the promised riches.
Aujaq looked down on the growing crowd, chanting words of anathema-hate, and felt his heart sink. “Father-Vendig, if ever you could bring yourself to help, now would be the time. You know what we can do, and we have no desire to hurt your citizens, but this fool Dragon-Blood is forcing our hand. Please help us avoid bloodshed”
He felt a silence decend for a moment, and heard the rustle of wings before seeing a handful of the Night Watch wander into the square and begin to break up the crowd. They went forward to the Dragon n-Blood and began to question him on why he was rabble rousing and causing a disturbance on this fine night…
Mal was slowly making his way towards the Dragon-Blood, hiding amongst the slowly dispursing crowd when he overheard a voice “the anathema is in the centre of the square”. He looked around and tried to back away to the corner of the square while remaining inconspicuous. He was about to think himself safe when he felt a slight tug and the clink of coins – turning he saw a cloaked figure running for an alley with Mal’s coin purse in his hand!
Furious, Mal gave chase. They scrambled up the walls of the alleyway and across the tiled rooftops of the Vendig poor quarter. They leapt across alleyways and tumbled between chimneys. But in spite of his experience, Mal found himself falling behind, as if this thief had planned his course beforehand. Beginning to get worried, he tried to cut the chase short by throwing a tile at the fleeing thief, but just as the Thief tumbled he grabbed the tile and threw it back at Mal, smashing it against his shoulder.
Mal raced around the corner to finally cath this thief, but as he rounded the corner he felt a fist smash the breath out of him, followed by a quick succession of jabs which left him barely able to move, let alone breath. In a moment of panic he let himself fall back off the rooftop and tumble down to the streets. In the moments before the Thief leapt down to follow him, Mal rolled into a corner under a bench and let his anima enfold and hide him against the cobblestones.
The thief landed only a few feet away and surveyed the alleyway. The figure was fairly emanating confusion at Mal’s disappearance before clapping their hands together to release a resounding boom which shattered windows and sent dust flying. Mal only barely managed to stay still and keep himself invisible. As the thief desperately scanned the dark corners, Mal managed to catch a glimpse beneath the cloak – a lightly armoured figure, but wearing a harness of razor sharp barbs, and an angry, determined look on a feminine face as the Thief turned away and ran down the street.
The exalts gathered back at their fort and shared the events of the evening. Vlad had returned with a few Scarlet Cloaks, who even now on patrol in the streets around the poor quarter. They considered sending Mal out to try to steal back the Yasal Crystal where Koda was captured. But they still had no real idea of where it was! They had begun to argue over possibilities when they heard the warding on the castle walls shatter. They immediately know that a sorceror had come and they scrambled to begin their own defence.
Vlad ran straight to the Warstrider that was sitting, powered down, inside the fort’s bailey. As he struggled to start up the ancient artifact, Aujaq and Mal net to the walls and saw over the other side two Dragon-Bloods across the bridge: the mouthy fire-aspect, and a severe looking woman covered in occult charms – among them a yellow crystal where Aujaq could see the face of Koda staring out.
The sorceror was adjusting her position and drawing in essence to release a destructive spell. Aujaq drew back his god-spear in anger and cast it out, interrupting the spell. The essence was released and the power grounded into the bridge and cobblestones, causing them to shatter and bringing the bridge into the river. The two dragon-bloods looked dazed and nervous, and the woman grabbed one of the charms on her belt and released a spell who hovered the pair in a dome of power. They could see the fire-aspect yelling at the sorceror, but were unable to hear him.
Vlad Finally was able to stand in the Warstrider, and after hearing what’s was happening outside, he lifted a large piece of fallen masonry, and hurled it over the wall and onto the shield.
The rock cracked as it rebounded from the shield, and tumbled into the waters of the river. The sorcer opened one eye briefly to stare at the fort, before continuing her chanting holding up the sorcerors shield.
Mal was worried, he still hadn’t seen the woman thief and scanned the square and the surrounding buildings for any sight of her. He turned at the sound of footsteps on the craked wall- and screamed a warning to the others.
Vlad heard the panicked yell and swung around, catching only a quick flicker of movement on the wall before swinging down the great sword of the Warstrider. The crashing sword forced the air-aspect to jump back, but Mal was also forced to quickly jump away as the massive sword sent the already damaged stone bricks into flying pieces and bringing down half the remaining wall.
The air-aspect took in the view of the pair of Warstriders in the bailey, one upright and recovering its massive sword for another swing. She decided that this fight was beyond her and so leapt back across the canal and onto the rooftops of Vendig. Meanwhile Aujaq had ignored the trouble on the wall and had been staring at the shimmering sorcerous shield. Watching the pulsing lines of essence he noted the strong and weak spots as they passed across the surface, and then at the moment of weakest defence he launched his god-spear which struck like a bolt of lightening – breaking through and blasting the Sorceror off her feet – causing the collapse of the second spell, leaving a rising circle of smoke rising from the ground.
Aujaq held our his hand and the spear flew back, ready for his next throw – and immediately cast the spear down.
The sorceror, seeing her approaching death, began to break apart in a rippling wave of feathers. But the spear wasn’t aimed at the sorceror, but it struck true on theYasal Crystal, shattering it and releasing Koda. The sorceror broke apart into a flock of birds which flew across the rooftops.
Koda, furious, turned to the fire-aspect. He looked shocked and panicked, scared by the angry spirit and seeing Aujaq readying his spear for another throw. The fire aspect stepped back and dissapeared into thin air.
Aujaq and Koda were reunited, and all cheered at their recent win over the forces of the realm. But they realized that this had only been a small force sent to gauge their strength. The full force of this Wyld Hunt was yet to fall…
Descending Air 18