Aphonion: Journals of a Licensed Diabolist (Sat. and Wed. updates, last 9/3, 9/10)

We planned for our assault on the occupied tower to split any defenders, while also concentrating the risks on our least important troops. The Rappa flew in at the top of the tower and began battling their way down, while we planned to enter through the bottom of the tower with the human mercenaries after the Rappa had attracted the enemy’s focus. As the mercenaries were expendable, we arranged them in the vanguard, although Sideh insisted on joining them, perhaps to ensure that the mercenaries would fully engage in the fight. The rest of us followed from some distance behind.

While we were still carefully advancing up undefended stairs, a blood Rappa flew back. “They hold us at the third landing below,” it croaked.

“What are they?”

“At the third landing below,” it repeated in confusion.

“No, what kind of creatures are you battling?”

The Rappa squawked its understanding. “Like most here, they are dead. It is hard to kill the dead, master.”

“Bone or vaporous?” asked Buzz.

“Only one is vaporous. We flee from it when it appears.”

Sideh described the ghost from before and asked if the vaporous undead matched that description.

The Rappa flapped its wings as it thought. “No, this is more like a black mist with jeweled eyes, like to be plucked from the air. What it touches dies, but our weapons will not touch it, master.”

Sideh nodded, and enchanted the weapons of some of our strongest warriors, as well as his own sword, right before we rushed up the stairs.

We rushed forward and up, passing through several layers before meeting any opposition. We could hear the clash of weapons above us as we moved. Eventually, a small group of armored skeletal warriors emerged into the stair well and engaged our first rank.

Sideh called on his deity to repulse the undead while Buzz unleashed augmented fire missiles, destroying a couple of them and injuring others. One of the skeletal creatures fled from Sideh’s holy symbol. More importantly, some other things that we had not seen also shrieked and retreated.

The undead counterattack was uneven, but the least damaged skeletal figure—perhaps a greater undead of some sort-- emasculated one of our mercenaries. He fell and quickly bled out before we could save him.

We focused our attacks on the undead commander, hitting it with numerous spells. Buzz’s energy blasts continued smashing the lesser undead, but the leader appeared immune or nearly so. Fortunately, a fiendish ape that I called to service savaged it fiercely. At that point, the undead commander flung a small jeweled item at the ground. It shattered and enveloped the entire first rank of our troops in a blast of acid. Several of our troops were badly hurt by the acid, and Sideh sustained worrisome wounds as well. One of our soldiers even collapsed. Fortunately, the acid blast was large enough to encompass our enemy as well, and the skeletal commander and one of the two remaining skeletal warriors clattered to the ground as well. With the fight nearly won, Twang brandished his wand to draw the skeleton’s attention and then bashed it with his new shield. His shield was impressively effective, ripping the undead’s bones apart. The shield chewed on a bone afterwards like a feral creature enjoying a kill.

We sent the next squad of soldiers leapfrogging forward while Sideh treated his wounds and those of the most badly hurt mercenaries that survived. I also ordered the fiendish ape forward. They rushed up to the next landing-- the fourth landing from the bottom—and into a room off to the right from the stairs. The room had an oddly medicinal, almost bleach-like odor. A large frog-like humanoid, loped at a leisurely pace across the landing and towards the stairs. I recognized it as a hezrou and quickly ordered my ape to attack it.

The ape traded savage blows with the hezrou, but could not stand up to it in melee—after only a few exchanges, the demon drove my minion back to Hell. Twang, Buzz, and I all attacked with spells or psionic powers, but the hezrou ignored our attacks. While not possessing the protections of the greater demons, even a hezrou can be difficult to ensorcel without more practice than we had yet gained. Our troops were most ineffective—I assume they were simply unfortunate, but I have to wonder if they might have lost their nerve in the face of a demonic assault. If so, they will either stiffen soon as they gain experience battling the Shadow, or we will have to develop ways to encourage them.

Sideh joined the battle, rushing straight up to the hezrou and wounding it. The hezrou’s response was fearsome, gashing Sideh badly. At that point, an odd bit of luck went our way. Twang summoned a fiendish dire rat using his wand. The dire rat essentially ripped the hezrou in half, clawing and ripping at a wound until the demon collapsed and dissolved away. Rarely has so petty a minion dealt such a grievous blow.

Twang was the first of us to reach the stairs up, and could see part of the battle raging on the floor above, along with seeing a steady stream of blood running down the staircase. He quickly threw a web, catching as many undead as he could. Ultimately, it would turn out that six of the remaining undead and two Rappa were in the web.

I summoned my fiendish ape again on the far side of the web, and we mopped up, winning a considerable victory. The Rappa took severe casualties, with about twenty of the original fifty down. Sideh saved a few of the critically injured Rappa with scrolls of cure light wounds. But the important point was that we now held the tower, although the wraith, if we correctly guessed the incorporeal undead’s nature, remained nowhere to be seen.

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As soon as we had secured control of the tower, we began moving the matrix up, although with additional precautions to deal with a potential attack by the wraith. Sideh and the best of the mercenaries stayed at the top of the tower, while Twang, Buzz, and I guarded the group of mercenaries that we ordered to carry the matrix up. As we expected, the wraith rushed one of the soldiers who were carrying the matrix as we neared the entrance to the tower.

The wraith embraced its target killing him instantly. The other mercenaries showed good discipline and attacked after placing the matrix on the ground, but their weapons passed through the wraith harmlessly regardless of their skill. Twang and I assaulted it with spells, Twang blasting away parts of its essence with his magic missiles while I cast a maximized, extended Demon Dirge. By that point, Sideh reached the bottom of the tower, having run the four flights of stairs at the first sounds of combat. He banished the wraith into the wastes by invoking his god, and the Demon Dirge burned away the rest of its essence until it was destroyed.

After that battle, we carefully decapitated the dead soldier and the Rappa dead and burned their heads. Sideh and I agreed based on our studies that that should be sufficient to prevent the creation of additional wraith spawn.

With those matters dealt with, we finally had the matrix in position, complete control of the tower, and everything in readiness to move the Shadowline. Sergeantanis’s forces posed an interesting problem, however. If we moved the Shadowline while his forces were in the area that would now be outside of Shadow, we would inadvertently unleash a sizable Shadow army that could then assault villages, Hastur Circles, or whatever else it would choose to. Moreover, if he doubled back to Circle Treehaven, he could likely retake the Tower from us and undo all our gains while also capturing a matrix and possibly even killing some of the Hastur. We decided to wait for Sergeantanis to clear the new Shadowline in his trip towards Dragonhold Greatclaw. We estimated that he would be beyond the new line in three days, but we decided to wait four days to install the matrix, just to be safe.

That night, almost immediately after nightfall, Alveera returned. “I have notified Dragonhold Greatclaw, Master. They were inclined to believe that I was indeed from the Tyrant because of the great size of his harem. They will be ready when Sergeantanis arrives, and there will be a great bloodletting.”

Perhaps an hour later, a different woman strode boldly up to the tower. I slept through the entirety of her visit, but I received reports from Alveera later. By purely physical appearance, the visitor seemed almost human, but she did not seem quite like a true human—perhaps a succubus who had concealed her wings. A panther stalked behind her, and she carried a crystal wedge in her hand.

“Ho the tower and the inhabitants therein.”

Twang went to the battlements and called back. “What news do you bring to Lord Twang?”

“There is one that will soon be here. Do you wish me to turn him away?”

“Of what nature is he?”

“He is a chaos champion.”

“That might be well. Do as you please.”

“Do you wish them turned aside? I know that I could do so. But I will claim a portion of the strength of five of your men in exchange. I will not take their souls, nor even partake of their flesh. But I must have my due if I am to turn them aside.”

Twang said to Sideh and Buzz, “Her offer sounds reasonable to me.”

“I am loath to ask any for that,” replied Sideh.

“We could ask for volunteers,” said Twang. “Some of the troops might be quite willing to give a little of their strength.” He returned to the battlement and said, “What strength do you require from our men?”

“A bit of their essence of masculinity.”

“Will it regrow over time?”

“Of course! The point is in the quest for men’s masculinity, not to take it permanently.”

“And the procedure? How will you take the essence?”

“Any who wish to give it in the traditional manner, may do so. Otherwise, a kiss will suffice.”

After some further discussion, my companions asked for volunteers among the troops. Many of the mercenaries were willing, even eager, to agree, heedless of the peril in which they placed their souls.

Eventually, Twang selected four of the mercenaries by lot, choosing himself as the fifth volunteer. He kissed her and lost some of his strength—a small matter, as he does not rely on physical prowess. The more worrisome aspect was Twang’s continued willingness to deal with the forces of Chaos. Kisses such as that carry a far steeper price than their mere physical effects. But, doubtless because they knew that I would object, none of my companions saw fit to consult me before entering into a deal with a demon. If I have failed in my duties by continuing to associate with them, I will seek penance from the Church. But the chaos champion did not approach the tower, if indeed the chaos champion existed at all as more than a bogeyman to coerce a deal.

[In fact, a chaos champion had been heading towards the tower, having detoured from his previous plans. The succubus approached him and accepted his advances. She kept him occupied for the entire night, and when the morning broke, he turned aside from the tower, lacking the time to continue on a diversion from his duties.]

In the middle of the third day, we noted a steady but rapid movement of a vast number of goblyns, running in sight of the tower. They headed roughly northwest, coming from the southeast.

We sent out a scout who asked them from whom they fled.

A goblyn answered, still hurrying by, “We do not flee. We go, commanded by the mighty one who drives us before him.”

“Who is the mighty one?”

“We are not worthy to speak his name. He is too mighty for such as we to speak of him.”

They ran by for the whole day, four thousand or more goblyns in all. We pulled all of our troops back into the tower and doused the lights. Whatever drove them forward would almost surely be something that we did not want any contact with. Finally, a carriage made of interlinked bones rolled by, pulled by monstrous zombies the size of giants. The tower likely looked abandoned or inactive, and the carriage rumbled on its way without stopping.

End of Session 10

Session 11:

21 Vaen

The rest of our wait passed uneventfully. I discussed a possible plan to build a loyal base of infernal abishai with Spring—if I implement the plan, it would be best to have the use of the additional components for summoning abishai that he took in our initial division of loot. We did not reach a definitive agreement, but time is not pressing—I would not attempt my plan without access to the sorts of superior chambers for summoning that we have back at the manor we reclaimed from Bastion, and he cannot perform a summoning without a proper license, so the components will not be used until later regardless of whether we can reach an agreement.

Having waited long enough to make it as likely as possible that Sergeantanis and his army would be beyond the area we intended to redeem from the Shadow for the Darkness, we were finally ready to attempt to install the matrix. My companion Buzz took the principal role, assisted by Sergeant Cilorian Leafbougher. We carefully moved the matrix into position in the heart of the specularum at the top of the Tower. Fortunately for our long-term position, the windows of the specularum remained intact with crystal panes showing the surrounding area in all directions. Buzz and the sergeant carefully hoisted the matrix up onto its pedestal, but it failed to balance correctly. The matrix slid off, slamming into Sergeant Cilorian and smashing him to the ground. If he were living, I fear he would have been badly concussed or worse. As it was, he still remained insensible for the better part of an hour. Fortunately, the matrix itself appeared unharmed.

When he recovered, they moved the matrix back into position atop the pedestal. This time, it balanced, but Buzz informed us that the matrix had not seated itself correctly—while it would not fall, it was not positioned to integrate itself into the Tower’s structure. After a pause to regain their composure, and in Buzz’s case to regain her breath, they attempted to position it a third time, twisting it around the other way but still not aligning things perfectly.

At this point, I heard a whisper in my mind in the same voice as the succubus noble we had recently met. “Try to hurry your companions along. I cannot distract them from your actions for much longer.” This was a most worrisome message, for a host of reasons, and yet I did not bring it to the Sergeant’s attention. My magical studies have made me quite aware of the delicacy of certain operations, and I believed that an awareness of the time pressures would make them more likely to fail, rather than more likely to succeed quickly.

Sergeant Cilorian and Buzz tried again, and the matrix finally settled into a groove on the pedestal, clicking into place. My psionic companions nodded with satisfaction, confident that the matrix was ready to be powered.

They appeared on the verge of relaxing—while the work had not appeared particularly onerous, it clearly took more attention than an untutored eye would notice—and I spoke urgently, “Can we activate it? We have been warned that time is running out.”

Buzz sighed, consulted the instructional crystal the Hastur entrusted us with, and then put her hands on two specific points on the great matrix. Her body suddenly became rigid and her head swung back. The matrix flared into life as her skin took on almost a grayish cast and sweat poured down her face. [In game terms, the matrix absorbed all but one of her power points.]

Through the observation windows, we saw a barrier flash up as the Shadowline shifted to beyond our point. In less time than it would take to blink, two great flying figures appeared just on the other side of the barrier in what remained in Shadow. But the Shadowline held, and for the first time in years, sunlight shone in this part of Caldefor. I regret that the return of a portion of Caldefor to the Darkness was not accompanied by the actual darkness of night, but Lord Paranswarm’s dominion over the land could no longer be denied by any.

A moment later, two Hasturs aported into the specularum and carefully eased Buzz out of position. One of the Hasturs carried several large crystal capacitors and began emptying them into the Tower’s power reserve. While they attended to the psionic defenses, most of us looked over the forces of Shadow that had appeared on the far side of the line, although Twang hid in either cowardice or an effort to avoid revealing his true loyalty.

The closer figure, by a small margin, looked like a pegataur, with a human-like torso, head, and arms, an equine body and legs, and large feathered wings. He carried a long bow of some odd black material with twisted, agonized faces on it. The bow appeared to be strung with poison ivy. He also wore at his belt a horribly deformed blade shaped like a druid’s sickle. Faces on the blade screamed in pain or anger, although we could not hear their words, or even if they made a sound, from this distance. As we examined him, a somewhat more distant version of the succubus’s voice whispered, “Lord Sarkany,” although neither I nor any of my companions recognized the name.

The second figure was much larger, appearing to be an enormous giant man, carrying a gigantic sword slung over his back. He shook his fist angrily at the Tower and the Shadowline, clearly regretting that his inattention had allowed us to redeem a portion of Caldefor. Ice dripped from various places on his body. The voice whispered again, “Lord Hisiii, a warlord in service to Malia. Memorize them well, for they have memorized you, my sweet.”

In addition to the demoness’s overly familiar words, we all received a vague distant picture of her mincing out of a feast hall, surrounded by her entourage, and across the dimensions. Two overturned chairs had fallen beside the one from which she had been reading aloud from a golden book-- the Book of Apples, also known as the Book of Temptation, a vile text of the most insidious demonic ideas and imagery. That book is widely bandied about among those of Borsh’tro’s demons determined to conquer the Prime. The implication that she had distracted Lords Sarkany and Hisiii to assist our efforts was clear, but I hope that as we had not requested her aid, no taint will have fallen on our souls. I will of course make any penance that the Church deems appropriate once I have access to a confessor once more.

After completing their initial defensive preparations, the Hastur turned and addressed us. “An armed force of four-thousand men hurry in this direction to help us establish the border with troops on the ground as well as the energy barrier. Until they arrive, I hope that you will be able to assist here. Your work here has been extraordinary. This is the largest piece of Shadow that has been retaken in many decades. I will commend you to our Council myself. Much of the Council will be impressed. The others do not notice many things.”

Sideh asked whether there was anything of note in the village around the Tower.

The Hastur spoke with regret. “There is not much of the village left. There was a temple of Glor’diadel there, once.”

I immediately inquired after churches of the True Faith.

The Hastur replied, “There were none in the village, but in the great towns, beyond the village, there were many temples to Paranswarm. The village around the Tower was mostly families of our Guard and others who would support them, and they incline more towards the Light than towards the Darkness.”

“I trust that there is no disagreement that Caldefor has been restored to the Darkness?” I asked, as I felt it vital to establish the Holy Church’s rights.

“Of course,” replied the Hastur. “Such is how it has always been. The Archbishop of your archdiocese has been informed and is sending priests and settlers to retake the land. In the meantime, however, you should make preparations to defend the victory you have won. If the enemy comes, they will come here. We are further from allies than any of the other Circles, and we do not yet have the support of our armies.”

In keeping with the Hastur’s request, we began efforts to fortify our defenses. Our first step was to send for the pachak to help us defend the tower. We left the Eums at the manor we took from Bastion, as we feared that their traditional association with Shadow might reassert itself if they were tasked so soon with defending the Shadowline. [At the manor, the vast majority of the Eums remained firm in their conversion. However, one group, consisting of about a sixth of the total, panicked in response to the sudden appearance of sunlight and fled into the basement of the manor to hide, refusing to come out into the light.]. The Rakshasa paladin that had accompanied us went to the border and taunted the enemies on the far side of the Shadowline, apparently in an effort to induce a premature attack before the enemy had fully gathered its forces.

[Sideh turned his initial attention towards restoring the Glor’diadelian temple in the village. Most of the village’s buildings had simply decayed, but the temple was the object of a great degree of rage and suffered badly. The Shadow broke the structure down nearly stone by stone. They also pounded on the altar, a huge granite block, until it split. Sideh’s examination of the altar showed a serious crack, graffiti, and sigils of various demon lords carved on and around it, but he was fairly sure that it could be restored with effort. He began by cleaning it thoroughly over the course of the next three days. On the third day, Sideh resanctified the altar. When the holy energy surged through the altar, much, but not all, of the holy protections on the temple resumed.]

A steady stream of forces gathered by the demon lords’ pavilions across the Shadowline. By the end of the second day, the goblyns and the coach from whom we had hidden before restoring the Shadowline returned to the area. A tall, robed, slender figure approached Lord Hisiii as the goblin set up a pavilion for him as well. We could see that his robe was covered by marks, but while I recognized some symbols as minor demonic lore, I could not discern the meaning of the whole. The figure also carried a staff made of bones that had been carved and screwed together. I could not identify the creature’s nature, but Buzz asserted confidently that it was an undead goblyn, probably a lich. I was familiar, of course, with the rumors of goblyn liches among the court of the Master of the Thronged City, in direct service to the traitorous Count. If I believe the stories, the goblin liches command special hordes of highly disciplined goblyn troops—or at least as highly disciplined as Shadow forces can be—that serve as Borsh’tro’s arm in enforcing discipline.

By dawn of the fourth day after we had restored the Shadowline, the forces ranged against us were fearsome. Our estimates were imperfect, but we counted roughly 4000 goblyns, 2000 green eums, about fifty lesser demons, all vrock or below in power, and the two demon lords and the goblin lich. Without the Shadowline, we would be utterly unable to withstand their assault, but even with it, if they were willing to take the chances involved, we would be at best hard-pressed to stop them.

A great consternation disrupted the demon encampment that evening. The demon lord Sarkany rose up on his wings, staring towards the northeast. Within moments, the goblyn lich emerged from its pavilion, tossing a book into the pillows as it walked. The lich looked off towards the northeast as well before touching eight of its guards, each heavily armed and armored, and disappearing with the eight in a teleportation.

We heard kettle drums booming in the distance, along with trumpets sounding. The sounds were muffled, but impressive nonetheless—they were the only sounds we had ever heard through the barrier. Indeed, I had not thought that it was possible to hear anything across the Shadowline. Lord Sarkany continued looking only to the northeast, while Lord Hisiii paced around like mad, occasionally stopping to stare off in the same direction. We only watched the enemy directly for a short time, but even within that time we saw Hisiii bite the head off a goblyn that approached too near to him. He continued chewing on the rapidly collapsing head nervously.

Sergeant Cilorian and I immediately climbed to the Specularum, hoping that we would be able to see the commotion to the northeast. The sergeant reported the odd experience of the window turning into the lens of a telescope. The distant landscape appeared much closer, and he could scan the far land, but he saw nothing of note beyond several more small groups heading to join the enemy. Sergeant Cilorian stated that he intended to see how far his vision would reach through the windows of the Specularum. He could focus to a range of about 150 miles, and he could see less clearly even beyond that. He finally noticed a battle at the Dragonhold, presumably between Sergeantanis’s army and that of the great wyrm that ruled the hold. The Dragonhold was at the extreme reach of the sergeant’s capabilities, and he could not focus on it, but he did describe a battle in the courtyard, along with a lifeless pile of bodies that had fallen and the goblyn lich with his eight guards hanging over the battle. The lich occasionally struck downwards with a line of purple energy from his staff.

My companion Spring apparently capitalized on the distraction to cross the Shadowline invisibly to reconnoiter the enemy camp. [Buzz said to where Spring disappeared, “Don’t be too stupid, and try to come back in about one piece, okay?”] After crossing, he used ghost sound to create another clamor to the east, with a more hurried drum beat, and slipped into the camp.

Buzz joined us in the Specularum after a moment and determined that she could also use the lenses to magnify her powers at distance. She touched the lens next to Sergeant Cilorian’s and activated a clairaudience effect out to a range of 90 miles. She then activated the Sergeant’s window and they both reported hearing as well as seeing the battle. The Sergeant relayed what he heard, describing the clash of weapons and the bellowing of the lich, to the extent its magical voice could support a bellow, saying, “Listen to me. I invoke Ramal, the Master of the Thronged City. Here me! You must stop this. An eighth of the land of Caldefor has fallen to the enemy. And you are slaughtering each other over control of a hold!” Buzz then unleashed an energy missile through the connection. The lich ignored the electric blast, but Buzz knocked two of its guards clean out of the air.

[Meanwhile, Spring made his way into the lich’s pavilion. Right at the entrance, he saw silk cushions, a lute, a bottle of perfume, and a book. He grabbed the book and the perfume, and then cast invisibility on the tent. That caused a certain additional disruption within the camp, but he again managed to evade notice, thanks to his invisibility and skills at stealth, and quickly crossed back across the Shadowline. Spring began reading the book at the base of the tower, but he quickly noticed two things. First, a magical defense of some sort attacked him but without any effect. Second, the book itself appeared incomprehensible. The natural 20 on his Will save indicated that he was immune to the symbol of unendurable agony inscribed in the book, greatly disturbing the embedded pain demon. He also noted that the perfume smelled wonderful—it had a value of approximately 500 silver.]

With Buzz’s assistance, Sergeant Cilorian established both sight and hearing links for me as well. By this point, the battle had essentially concluded, with a very bloodied and battered Sergeantanis victorious. The dragon lay dead. The goblyn lich, chanted the name of the Master of the Thronged City over and over again, holding both hands lifted above his head on his staff. We were familiar with Ramil, of course, who has the reputation of being right on the edge of the transition from being a mighty lord of the Shadowland to being a Tanar’ii lord. He has control over acid and poison, and we suspected that he had given his servant immunity to both of those. Buzz therefore sent a fire missile when she attacked again and Sergeant Cilorian projected burning hands through the Tower’s defenses. They burned the lich’s guards badly, but not enough to kill them. The lich broke off his chant long enough to order, “Spread!” and then resumed chanting. The Sergeant and Buzz quickly found themselves without reasonable targets.

Spring brought the book to me for further examination. Based on his warning, I checked it for magic, detecting a strong dweomer. I tried to bypass its defenses by opening the book to the middle, but it snapped open at the front and inflicted enormous, devastating pain on me, worse than any I have ever previously felt. [Konrad lost 10 points of Constitution as a result of the trap.] I regret to admit that I collapsed, trembling nervously from its force. Realizing that the book was a tome of exceptional chaos, I sought to protect my allies from it. I tried to cast Summon Monster III twice, followed by a Demon Dirge, but I was in so much pain that I failed in my efforts. Not one of my spells functioned at all, and I could not destroy that accursed book! Spring quickly carried the book away.

I warned both Spring and Buzz about the extreme danger the book poses. Even if Spring remained too inclined to focus on its potential value, I hoped that his sister would prevail upon him to destroy the book. Spring acknowledged the danger and said that he would destroy it if it became a threat, but also raised the point, regrettably true, that it might contain valuable information against the enemy. I believe that I convinced him of the threat—I can only most fervently pray that I did, for if the book is as I fear, it threatens not merely his safety and that of Redeemed Caldefor but his very soul if he reads from it further.

Sideh later reported having completed most of his preparations in the village to slow and harass the enemy should they break through the Shadowline. His efforts were not without some cost—a large creature that he described as nine foot tall and four foot wide erupted from the earth while he was constructing traps, and tore one of the mercenaries in half before crouching and growling in a menacing manner. Sideh believed that it was a bear tainted with chaos, although he was not certain. Fearing that it would kill more of the mercenaries, Sideh calmed the beast down and redirected it toward the Shadowline. In the best case, it would destroy some of the enemy, and in any event, it would no longer be a threat. The beast carried off a potion of the mercenary’s carcass with it.

Sergeantanis ultimately won the battle at the Dragonhold. Unfortunately for our purpose, the slaughter was not as complete as we had hoped-- the lich quieted the remaining fighting and forced the survivors to agree to serve Sergeantanis. The lich then hunted down and killed the people we had warned. We realized that they had fled, rather than preparing for the battle with Sergeantanis. We believed that Sergeantanis did not realize that we sent word warning his prey, and he thus remained likely to look the other way from our future efforts.

More troops arrived later on the fourth day. On our side of the line, the pachak joined us, and we quickly set them to work guarding the tower and preparing against an assault. Within an hour or so of the pachak’s arrival, a cavalcade of great hairy spiders, mounted by wild human women with significant chaotic features, rode up to the demonic camp. The spider cavalry were led by a female drider-like creature, though she had the body of a scorpion rather than that of a spider. The demons treated her as a great leader of Shadow-- even Lord Hisiii grudgingly nodded profound respect for her, while the others in the encampment, including Lord Sarkany, rushed over to give reports to her.

[Meanwhile, Spring cast comprehend languages and read the book. The book was a list of names. He concluded that each was the name of a demon that could be summoned using the book.]

The following day, roughly four thousand troops joined our defense in the evening. They were well-disciplined and equipped and were accompanied by several priests of Paranswarm, as well as a single minor priest of Glor’diadel. That tilted the balance decidedly in our favor, even after a squirming horde of yellow eums joined the enemy army. Now confident that it would not endanger their troops, the Hastur also opened a small gate and brought through one hundred of their power guard.

The Hastur Lady called us together. “I am not certain if they will cross or not. If they do cross, it will only be after a major demon arrives, for only they can drop the barrier without great loss of life. However, the yellow eum may cross and raid, for the soil is perfect for them. You should be on your guard.”

End of Session 11

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