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Kulan: Knightfall's Aerie of the Crow God Game [IC]

Scotley

Hero
Phar spends a long night in Elven reverie in the grove. He has much to ponder. He is much taken by the valor he witnessed this past day, but burdened by the losses this little place has suffered. Why must their be such evil in the world that takes good people from their homes and families in untimely death. Their spans on this world are short enough as it is.

But these same questions have troubled the rest of Elves for thousands of years and no answers have been found even by the most knowledgeable of Sages and the wisest of Elders. Phar is not so vain as to think his meger accumulated experiences are enough to give him the answers so many have sought.

The new day has new and immediate problems that must be solved. He studies his spell books carefully as soon as it is light enough to read them. He must prepare for the ritual and for the bringing of justice for the crimes of Xander and Eike. He takes a moment to consider the companions he has found. They are a stalwart lot and overcame much in yesterday's fighting. He is thankful for each of them.

Eventually, he closes his book rises and seeks out his companions, nay his friends...
 

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JustinCase

the magical equivalent to the number zero
Lady Pendour gets up off her knees and exits her family crypt. She is steeled. Determined. Angry. She rushes down the road towards Carnell with her lady in waiting trailing behind her. She doesn't wait for the guards. The battle taught her how to fight and survive, although without Carnell's heroes, she would have likely died.

She rushes towards the smithy while gathering her cloak around her. Those few who are awake and working to fix the damage to the village bow to her as she passes. They would do anything for her now. She comes upon them just after Aureus leaves for the grove. She'll tell her later, or they will. Angus begins trotting up the road towards her.

"I am glad you are all awake and feeling better," she says. "I hope you are going after the escaped prisoners right away. I need you to get something back from them. Brutus's ring is gone." She pauses. "His signet ring." She exhales. "It was his father's. My husband's brother. Brutus was my nephew." She pauses again. "No one but he and I knew. Well, I think Sir Ghal has always suspected."

She looks at Caerth, her eyes desperate. "I need that ring back before he can be properly buried in the crypt." She sighs. "And his axe should go up in the hall next to his uncle's family blade. If his father or mother were still alive, it would go to one of them. My brother-in-law did not have any other family. Brutus was the last male Pendour heir. Everything will go to my daughter now."

She looks up at the sky. "And there is something else... I just... discovered that my husband's remains are missing from the crypt... including the coffin and all the regalia," she begins sobbing. "Those bastards must have looted the crypt before they fled!"
Caerth is moved by Lady Pendours revelation, and despite his gruff appearance, tears form in his eyes.

"He was a good man," he says simply, locking eyes with the noblewoman. He can see the understanding in her eyes, as she must realize that Caerth, too, grew up without his actual parents. And like Brutus, Caerth inherited a bloodline that is seen as monstrous by most of the villagers, which made them both outsiders of sorts.

"We will get the ring back," the druid promises.

Abruptly, he turn his eyes away when she starts crying. He is uncomfortable with tears, and he ignores his own; instead, he merely looks away and happens to see Phar walk over.
 

Knightfall

World of Kulan DM
Quinn is feeling pain for the first time in a long time. He felt the cloud of poison drain away a part of him, to the point of a bit of color of his skin had paled. But the rest he had in an actual bed, a comfortable bed like that given to the champion gladiator, had allowed his body to fully recover it vitality overnight.

He draws the scimitar, "Cruel Justice" and he gives a respectful nod to the naked adamantine blade, "good morning, blade of the stars. We have justice to meter out today, The duergar has broken his solemn vow. By the law of the land, that is a sentence of death. May I be the one who wields you to administer this justice? And to bring justice to the boy, Brutus' murder?"

Its not a prayer, but an honest question for the weapon to consider. As for an actual prayer, he moves to a window and faces to the grove and gets on his knees in supplication, "Those of you have smiled on us and given us this victory, I thank you. I do not know your names, but my companions do and I thank you for protecting them and I. We have further work to be done and I humbly ask for your favorable gaze to continue to smile upon us in our endeavors."

After a short moment of silence he stands and dresses to prepare for the day - Food being one of the first .. .. ..
"Brutus gave his life as a soldier of Carnell, Sir Quinn. We must not forget that he fought with honor. Is it murder to be killed in combat?" Cruel Justice replies. "But, you are right that the duergar broke his oath to a lawful trial and must be punished for fleeing. While the other one swore no such oath, he also must be brought to justice by any means possible. It is unlikely either of them will surrender a second time. We should not accept such a surrender without good cause."

After Quinn says his prayer to the gods of the shrine, these North Gods, a solitary raven lands on the ledge outside the window. It hops up and down on the ledge and then peers at the gladiator-knight. It caws and flaps its wings, almost as if dancing. Then it seems to bow to Quinn and then takes to the air. It flies high above Carnell, dives down to the Grove of the North Gods, and then flies south along the coast until it is out of sight.

Maur nods "Galzadar will have to wait then."

And think to himself "They had a necromancer in the town. It would be better the body is only looted."

"We may have a way of freeing Galzadar spirit too, lady. But it will take some time. Time we don't have if we're going after the ring."
"We can hold him in the manor," she replies. "He isn't much a threat without a spellbook." She pauses. "Even if there is a way a freeing him from this curse placed on him, the senate will still want him to face some sort of justice. He will have to find a way to repay the families of those he killed." She sighs. "I do not think the citizens will accept him in any form, even if he is cured and repents. Maybe... maybe if they witness his redemption with their own eyes."

"Lady Pendour, I came here to tell everyone I have the third component for the cleansing ritual for Galzadar. And if Caerth prepares Atonement today, we can do it immediately.

I already prepared spells needed to locate the fugitives. I can also call celestial allies and send them after them while we deal with the elf. Xander might be too strong for them, but not necessarily. And Eike almost certainly isn't.

I have Consecrate in case we want to do the ritual away from the sacred grove. I prepared things to protect him and us from evil...it will take about 2 hours total so we can still start tracking."
"I believe yer friend Phar still has the duergar's spellbook, so Xander probably won't be able to sling any spells at ye," Mabon says. "But I wouldn't underestimate him or that other one either. They made off with a lot of stuff that could help them in a fight. There were few old potions in the chest they broke open. A couple of minor healing draughts and a strange brew I never had identified. It had a stylized-sword symbol on it."

"I doubt the two fugitives will be able to take on all of them at once," Lady Pendour says to Mabon. She looks at Maur. "If you feel you must help Galzadar first, I have no objections. After last night, I trust your judgment. All I ask is that you do not wait too long to go after them. Who knows what they will do with my husband's body."

Neurotic said:
He looks at the group
"I am loathe to let the killers go, but they can be tracked later and Galzadar is a threat in this state."
Lady Pendour muses for a moment. "Galzadar was a good friend to Peregrine and if this ritual can return the elf to his former self, I know it would please my husband's soul, and while the ring is important, it is not more important than a living soul that could be saved."

"And you shouldn't leave that demon flitting around here," Mabon says. "It's presence is making the people nervous."

"If we lock Galzadar up in the manor, I will not allow it inside," Lady Pendour insists. "I have been told it is sitting in a tree near the grove, but it cannot stay there either. I suggest you tell it to leave. It has no place here even if Galzadar is redeemed."

The lady tone is firm and doesn't allow for any dissent on the matter of the quasit's presence in Carnell.

Phar spends a long night in Elven reverie in the grove. He has much to ponder. He is much taken by the valor he witnessed this past day, but burdened by the losses this little place has suffered. Why must their be such evil in the world that takes good people from their homes and families in untimely death. Their spans on this world are short enough as it is.

But these same questions have troubled the rest of Elves for thousands of years and no answers have been found even by the most knowledgeable of Sages and the wisest of Elders. Phar is not so vain as to think his meager accumulated experiences are enough to give him the answers so many have sought.

The new day has new and immediate problems that must be solved. He studies his spell books carefully as soon as it is light enough to read them. He must prepare for the ritual and for the bringing of justice for the crimes of Xander and Eike. He takes a moment to consider the companions he has found. They are a stalwart lot and overcame much in yesterday's fighting. He is thankful for each of them.

Eventually, he closes his book rises and seeks out his companions, nay his friends...
Phar senses two presences nearby as he is studying his spellbook.

The first is the Soldier of Iron, Aries Zeidan, who keeps vigil over Galzadar from just outside the grove. The man isn't a worshipper of the North Gods, but he respects them, it seems. He is praying to his own god, Oaldir, while keeping one eye on the cursed elven wizard. Phar has heard of the god before, but Oaldir is an obscure nature deity that has few worshippers in the northern lands. Oaldir is more popular in the warmer southern lands, but there is a small following in Aries' homeland, the Kingdom of Stonn, and other lands of the Jagged Peninsula.

The man has quickly endeared himself to the people of Carnell and Lady Pendour. He has been more than willing to tell all he knows about the Cult of Malotoch. He also told them that when the necromancer freed Eike and Xander, the duergar had hesitated, if only for a moment. Reynold had insisted that Xander either go with Eike or be left behind to face Tarrak's wrath once the heroes were slain. While Xander hadn't been convinced that the ghast lord would win, he decided to take his chances with the cultists rather than the wrath of Lady Pendour and Phar and his friends.

The second presence just outside the grove is the quasit, Eutharic. The tiny demon has no need to eat or sleep, so it was able to keep watch over its master all night. The creature is still worried about Galzadar and Phar can sense the demon is getting impatient. Phar senses a sadness in Eutharic. The quasit knows that if the ritual is successful, Galzadar will likely reject him as his familiar. This will leave the tiny demon without the protection of a master, and it could easily be banished back to the lower planes. It doesn't take magic to know that Eutharic has no desire to be sent back to the Abyss.

Once Phar is done with his spellbook, and rises to his feet, it doesn't take long for him to find one of his friends. Aureus meets him on the path leading into the grove. She smiles at her oldest friend. "I'm glad to see you're rested. The others are gathering near the smithy. Caerth already has Eike and Xander's trail. There's still some debate on whether we're going to hunt them first or perform the ritual." She yawns. "I'll be back once I pray for my spells. I'm going to concentrate on healing today."

She notes Aries praying at the edge of the grove. "I see he's still around," she whispers. "Lady Pendour has given him her blessing to leave. He will not have to face any sort of punishment. Not that he should. He told us the truth, it seems." She studies the Soldier of Iron. "Maybe we should ask for his help. Those two stole some of his gear too... I'll ask him."

Aureus lets Phar continue on to find the others while she heads into the grove and begins to pray to the God of the Hutaakans, Vaflar.

Caerth is moved by Lady Pendour's revelation, and despite his gruff appearance, tears form in his eyes.

"He was a good man," he says simply, locking eyes with the noblewoman. He can see the understanding in her eyes, as she must realize that Caerth, too, grew up without his actual parents. And like Brutus, Caerth inherited a bloodline that is seen as monstrous by most of the villagers, which made them both outsiders of sorts.

"We will get the ring back," the druid promises.

Abruptly, he turn his eyes away when she starts crying. He is uncomfortable with tears, and he ignores his own; instead, he merely looks away and happens to see Phar walk over.
Phar makes his way to the smithy and finds the others talking with Lady Pendour. He can sense that Caerth seems to be upset about something and all of them have serious looks on there faces. Could something else have happened?

"Magus Phar," Lady Pendour says as the paragon elf wizard approaches. "I was just tell your friends about Brutus and my husband." She retells the tale of Brutus's life, his dead parents, the missing ring, and her husband's missing body.

Quinn arrives in the middle of her retelling of Brutus being her husband's brother's son. She goes into detail about the boy's wish to leave some of his personal items to Sir Quinn, but that the ring and axe must go back to Pendour Family. Cruel Justice speaks after she is done.

"Yes, Lord Pendour would want the boy's axe to placed on the wall of the Great Hall next to his blade," the intelligent blades says.

"He told you," Lady Pendour says.

"He did not have to, dear lady," Cruel Justice replies. "The bond that connected us meant that there were no secrets between us, but, it was not my secret to reveal... to anyone." It pauses. "Yet, Sir Quinn's natural connection with the boy was influenced by that old bond. It wasn't a conscious act by me on him."

Lady Pendour nods and then turns back to Phar. "Maur believes you all can help Galzadar before tracking down the fugitives. I have consented to let the ritual be performed first. But, it must be done quickly and then the villains who stole my husband's body must be hunted down. You do not have to bring them back for trial. The justice of the sword is what they deserve."

"And that is what they will get," Cruel Justice insists.

"And I have been asked to help by Aureus and have agreed," a voice says. "If the rest of you will allow me to come with you to catch them."

Aries comes down the dirt and stone street towards the smithy. He is dressed in the same chainmail armor he wore on the island, but it looks like he's spent the morning cleaning it. He has trimmed his beard and cleaned the dust and grime of the Temple of Malotoch out of his clothes. He carries an old, large wooden shield that was lent to him by Mabon. He has his mace tied to his belt and his magically goggles sit atop his head. He wears the amulet that Angus returned to him and he thanks the Harqualian centaur again for giving it back without a first blood match. His magical cloak and gloves were taken, so he only wears a light plain cloak.

"How's that old shield, Ironknight," Mabon says.

"It is sturdy enough," Aries replies. "I thank you for your kindness, and please, you do not not need to call me by that title. It is an old honorific used by my Order that I don't particularly care for. Too stuffy and outdated."

Mabon shrugs but relents.
 

Neurotic

I plan on living forever. Or die trying.
"The ritual shouldn't take long, Lady Pendour. And Galzadar as he is now may be more threat than that given his demonic influence. I'd do the ritual first. The murderers can be found later. Or the ring itself can be tracked."
Maur offers his advice looking at the party.
"I'd like to talk to the little demon. While killing it and banishing it back would probably be the wisest course, killing a familiar may negatively impact the caster. And it DID help us in the end even if it is for his masters benefit. It shows it can think of something beside itself. It may be the first step toward redemption."
He nods at Aries.
"Thank you for your support at the cave and the information you gave us. It may have been the last pebble that threw the balance on our side."
 

JustinCase

the magical equivalent to the number zero
Caerth nods at Maur.

"You, me and Phar together are needed for the ritual, and Galzadar needs to cooperate with the last part. He may not survive. But we have to break the demon's hold on his soul, both for our sake and his."

The druid looks in the general direction of the grove, where he knows the elf and the quasit must be now.

"I'd like to bring the familiar along with us for a while, to see if it has a chance to reform from its abyssal nature. If so, we can mentor it on its difficult path ahead, of learning how to deal with one's inner rage and focus it into something good."

It is clear the half-orc sees some recognition in that path, as he himself had to learn not to use anger and violence at every opportunity, and perhaps Caerth feels a bit fatherly to the tiny demon that helped save his life.

Looking back at his companions, he adds in a cold voice, "But if not, I will kill it myself."

OOC: Which spells will each of us cast for the ritual? I haven't updated my spell list yet, and I assume the wizard, cleric and druid have talked about this beforehand.
 

Knightfall

World of Kulan DM
"The ritual shouldn't take long, Lady Pendour. And Galzadar as he is now may be more threat than that given his demonic influence. I'd do the ritual first. The murderers can be found later. Or the ring itself can be tracked."
Caerth nods at Maur.

"You, me and Phar together are needed for the ritual, and Galzadar needs to cooperate with the last part. He may not survive. But we have to break the demon's hold on his soul, both for our sake and his."
Lady Pendour listens, sighs, and then nods. "Help Galzadar first. If you can track Brutus's ring, then let's hope that will lead you to those two murdering bastards."

Neurotic said:
Maur offers his advice looking at the party.
"I'd like to talk to the little demon. While killing it and banishing it back would probably be the wisest course, killing a familiar may negatively impact the caster. And it DID help us in the end even if it is for his masters benefit. It shows it can think of something beside itself. It may be the first step toward redemption."
General Knowledge about the Abyss: Maur - Knowledge (the planes) check: 1D20+2 = [8]+2 = 10
Quasit Knowledge: Maur - Knowledge (the planes) check: 1D20+2 = [14]+2 = 16
Maur was taught from a young age that the Abyss is a dark and wildly chaotic place that is full of some of the worst evils in the cosmos. It is not a place to tread lightly and demons are twisted, unholy tricksters that tend to kill their enemies brutally. He has never heard of a demon that wasn't both chaotic and evil.

For Eutharic to be willing to help its master lift the curse is very odd. If the PCs are successful, Galzadar will probably reject the quasit. Maybe that is the demon's plan. Perhaps the demon secretly wants to go back to the Abyss. Weirder still is that the demon seems to actually care about its master. Demons are selfish and cruel not caring and loving.

Could Eutharic be some sort of aberration? Or maybe the quasit is just a good actor.

Maur knows that quasits can be just as power hungry as other demons, but they tend to be cowardly. After the battle in the cave, the ordained champion has learned that Eutharic can use both invisibility and cause fear. Maur hadn't known that about quasits before the fight. He did know that their claws are poisonous and that they are immune to all poisons.

JustinCase said:
The druid looks in the general direction of the grove, where he knows the elf and the quasit must be now.

"I'd like to bring the familiar along with us for a while, to see if it has a chance to reform from its abyssal nature. If so, we can mentor it on its difficult path ahead, of learning how to deal with one's inner rage and focus it into something good."

It is clear the half-orc sees some recognition in that path, as he himself had to learn not to use anger and violence at every opportunity, and perhaps Caerth feels a bit fatherly to the tiny demon that helped save his life.

Looking back at his companions, he adds in a cold voice, "But if not, I will kill it myself."

OOC: Which spells will each of us cast for the ritual? I haven't updated my spell list yet, and I assume the wizard, cleric and druid have talked about this beforehand.
Caerth knows that the quasit can never truly be part of the natural world...

Effect of Demons on the Natural World: Caerth - Knowledge (nature) check: 1D20+19 = [16]+19 = 35

Demons always have a negative effect on the lands and creatures of the natural world. Animals, vermin, and other natural creatures will often flee an area if a demon is physically laired nearby. Creatures that don't flee (especially fey) often become wilder and more dangerous if the demon remains in the area for too long. Normal plants typically become diseased or wither and die completely. Monstrous plants become more numerous and unpredictable. Humanoids, monstrous humanoids, and giants can become sullen and prone to rash behavior if a demon stays in a area on the Material Plane for too long.

The more powerful the demon, the worse and more noticeable the effect. So, while the quasit will eventually have an effect on the area around Carnell if it stays near it, it won't be very noticeable. It could be as simple as more types of stinky weeds growing around the village or the local cats and dogs becoming more irritable.

Powerful demons can play severe havoc on the natural world. Blight will spread, which could cause famine, dangerous monstrous vermin could grow to massive sizes, and an area could end up getting hit with unpredictable and dangerous weather. Deadly evil monsters will be drawn to an area with a powerful demon. This is not something that Caerth has ever witnessed, but both Lorien and Phar have told him the story of how the forest elf home fell years ago when an evil elven sorcerer named Wrykir gated a powerful demon from the Abyss and used it to destroy his rivals and overthrow the lands of the forest elves. (This is related to how the blood elves of the Great Forest were created.) Lorien told Caerth that Wrykir merged himself with the demon and is now the fey'ri demon lord called Wyrknari Vok. (Caerth and the others learned from Eutharic that Vok IS the demon lord who cursed Galzadar for Tarrak and the cultists of Malotoch.)

Since the fall of the Old Knotwood, the Darkened Trees of Narda'taur (as it is now called) has become a blighted place filled with blood elves, demons, powerful monsters, twisted fey, and colossal, deadly vermin.

Eutheric will not have that kind of effect on Carnell, but the quasit's presence will change the area around the village. How much, Caerth can't really know. and if other demons come for him, Galzadar, and the PCs, the effect on the Strandlands could be devastating. The quasit did tell the half-orc druid that Vok will send something to collect Galzadar even if it means just collecting a corpse.


BTW, JustinCase, since the roll is very high, Caerth also knows about a place known as the Diabolic Enclaves that is located beyond the Thunder Mountains to the west. It is a dark place filled with evil diabolists and their summoned devil servants. Its capital known as Flamerule† is multitiered metropolis that descends into the Underearth (only the first tier is on the surface). The Diabolic Enclaves sit (roughly) in between Narda'taur and the Thunder Mountains.
† Not the Flamerule of the Forgotten Realms setting.

Caerth thinks about the tiny quasit, and the half-orc druid knows that even if he and his friends can somehow redeem Eutharic, the quasit will always be out of place on Kulan. The demon could find a place on another outer plane, but it shouldn't remain on Kulan unless it is willing to give up its demonic nature entirely. Caerth knows that Eutharic can't be affected by reincarnate but maybe it could be permanently polymorphed in some way. But, that's not the half-orc's magical skill. It is probably better to banish the creature back to the outer planes. There are already too many unnatural evils loose on Harqual.

Neurotic said:
He nods at Aries.
"Thank you for your support and the information you gave us. It may have been the last pebble that threw the balance on our side."
"I couldn't just sit in my cell while Eike and Xander escaped," Aries replies as Maur and the other make their way towards the Grove of the North Gods. He sighs. "If Brutus hadn't heard me yelling and let me out of my cell, I would have languished there, useless. I owe a debt to him even in death, so I am with you until those two are found." He puases. "And I'd like to get back my other possessions they stole."

Lady Pendour takes her leave and goes into the inn to check on the wounded villagers. Mabon goes back to cleaning up his smithy.

Approaching the grove, Caerth notices that it is very quiet. The birds aren't singing and he doesn't see any squirrels or other small animals until they exit the path and entre the grove. A squirrel sits on the altar while chewing on a nut. It has gathered its stockpile and moved it into an old hollow log in the grove.

Aureus is kneeling just inside the grove praying to her god.

A crow hops around next to the prone Galzadar. It calls out in annoyance at something in one of the trees just outside of the grove. Caerth can see a fat, dirty bat hanging from a branch. Caerth immediately can tell its not a real bat but the quasit in an alternate form. At first, Eutharic doesn't move but once he realizes they aren't going to attack, it flaps its wings and takes to the air. It lands 10 feet away from the group and shifts back into its demon form.

"I'm surprised you are still here," Aries says to the tiny demon. "What game are you playing, demon?"

"What's he doing here?" Eutharic asks Caerth. "You can't trust him."

"Don't talk about trust," Aries snaps. "They don't know you like I do." The Sildoer of Iron looks at Caerth. "You cannot let it live. Yes, I understand that killing it while the elf is still under his curse is problematic, its presence here will draw the demon lord to us like a flame to a moth."

Aureus finishes her prayers and stands. "Hmm, I've heard that phrase before, I think. Isn't is the other way around?"

"Vok is a deadly flame, not a moth," Aries says. "You will get us all burned, quasit."

"You don't think I don't know that!" Eutharic counters. "But I'm not going anywhere until the curse is lifted!" He looks back towards Galzadar with sad eyes. "I know its hard for any of you to believe, but I care about him. He is the only being who has ever been truly kind to me. Even in this state, he never mistreated me."

"If they lift his curse, Galzadar will probably dismiss you from his service," Aries says. "You will have no place by his side or any where else on this world."

"I know."

"And still you wish to help?" Aureus asks with a lot of doubt in her voice.

"Yes... I want what is best for him, not for me," Eutharic replies. "If he rejects me, I will leave him... and this world, if you insist I must." The quasit crinkles up its face. "But I'm not going back to the Abyss! I hate that place!"

"If I didn't know better, I'd swear it's being truthful," Aries says.

"We'll worry about it later," Aureus replies. "De-... Eutharic, go wait outside the grove. You can watch but you probably shouldn't be close to your master or the altar."

Eutharic nods glumly. He flies out of the grove and lands in on a large rock that allows him to view the ritual. Aries goes to check on Galzadar. The elf wizard is no longer sleeping but he seems to be calm. He looks surprised to see Aries.

"Easy wizard, I'm on your side," Aries says. "I swear it to you and these others."

Galzadar looks towards Caerth with concern.

"Let's crack that curse," Aureus says with a slight smile and a swish of her tail. She moves to Galzadar and casts a healing spell on him for good measure. She is surprised that one of his wounds won't knit.

"Vile damage," Aries says. "I've seen it before while I was infiltrating the cult. Normal healing will not close this wound." He looks at Maur. "If he suffers more damage during the ritual, he won't survive."

"My amulet," Galzadar croaks. "It will give me strength."

OOC:
I've decided to use a different font for Eutharic instead of make the text smaller. It was too hard to read the other way.

Ritual time! :D
 

Knightfall

World of Kulan DM
Caerth and Aureus set Galzadar on the altar of the grove while Phar and Maur doublecheck all the magical seals and diagrams for the ritual. Aureus watches as her friends decide upon the proper placement of the special materials designed to enhance the ritual. Once everything is set, the order of castings decided upon, and Death Ward is placed over Galzadar by Maur, the dwarven ordained champion takes the lead and attempts to dispel the domination holding Galzadar's mind. His attempt is a good try but unsuccessful. The group is forced to reset the ritual and start over.

Caerth steps in a casts a more powerful dispelling spell. The half-orc druid struggles against the powerful demonic magic dominating the elf wizard's mind. It take all he has to break through the enchantment and dispel it. He barely succeeds.

"The domination is down," Caerth says.

Maur steps forward again and casts the next spell. He casts the required Break Enchantment spell. The spells nearly fizzles and Galzadar shudders on the altar. The dwarven ordained champion pours his pious soul into the casting and manages to enhance the spell enough to succeed. It is tasking and adds time to the ritual.

"That was too close," Aureus whispers to Phar.

Galzadar's shuddering becomes pain as the curse tears through him. He screams in agony as black flames pour out of his eyes, ears, nose, and mouth.

"Master!" the quasit yells out. Eutharic looks like he's going to fly to Galzadar.

"Eutharic, you must stay back!" Aries commands the tiny demon. "Do not enter the grove!"

"You should have just killed me!" Galzadar yells out in anger.

Maur doesn't wait for the elf wizard to clam down. He quickly casts Remove Curse on Galzadar while Phar steps forward and casts Polymorph on Galzadar. The arcane magic from Phar's spell tries to shift Galzadar back to his original form, but the magic isn't strong enough. He shifts back to his altered shadowstar form. This time, however, the elf wizard fights off the damaging effect of his curse. Galzadar's breathing is ragged but the worst is now over. He looks at Maur with anger in his eyes then turns away to look at Caerth.

"It seems this ritual can't remake me into what I once was," he says irritated. "I knew it wouldn't succeed."

"It has succeeded," Caerth insists. "You have survived the pain and are now free of Vok's influence. Your body is not as important as your soul. Malotoch can no longer claim it, and you will no longer hear the demon's voice."

"Perhaps," Galzadar replies.

"All you must do now is atone for your sins," Caerth insists as he prepares to cast the Atonement spell. "Choose redemption and build a new life."

Galzadar shakes his head in frustration. He doesn't look convinced.

OOC:
For the DC 35 Diplomacy check, either Phar or Maur should take the lead. As noted on the OOC thread, a good roleplaying post will add a +2 circumstance bonus to any Aid Another rolls made by the other PCs.

@Neurotic, Maur also could cast Divine Insight (from the Spell Compendium) on himself if you can fit it into the spells Maur has chosen for the day. Or you can just go with Eagle's Splendor for either Maur or Phar.

Here is Caerth's Aid Another roll for the check based on what I've written above:
Caerth - Diplomacy check (Aid Another [DC 10]): 1D20 = [14] = 14 (success)

So, that's already a +2 bonus to either Phar or Maur's check.
 
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Tellerian Hawke

Defender of Oerth
Angus stands nearby, at the very edge of the grove, far enough away not to interfere, but close enough to observe all that is happening. He feels helpless, knowing nothing of ritual magicks, incantations, and the like. He pities Galzadar for the pain he is enduring, and he sympathizes with Euthartic, a fascinating creature that seems to defy known archetypes of its kind. Although Angus is aware of the deceitful nature of demonkind, he can sense Euthartic's genuine emotional attachment to its master, as well as its sense of anxiety over its master's suffering. Such concern would seem to go against a self-serving, remorseless nature. Is it possible that to begin with, Euthartic was never actually truly evil?

When Aries tells Euthartic to stay back, and not to enter the grove, Angus nods in agreement.

Angus says, in a low tone, barely above the volume of a whisper, "Aries is right, little one. Please stay back. Come, you can sit next to me, on this low branch. We can keep each other company. Neither of us can be helpful in this ritual, but both of us can watch, and hope, and pray. A little bit of hope is a powerful thing. Especially when you love the one you're being hopeful for."

Angus glances knowingly at Euthartic, and smiles. He can sense that the little demon considers his master in a familial way, likely in a "master and his beloved pet" fashion; although it is Euthartic who is bound to its master's service, the demon is obviously very ancient and wise, and finds something very special in Galzadar. Being that the weight of knowledge and experience likely rests with Euthartic, it would be difficult to imagine the nature of their bond being anything otherwise.
 

JustinCase

the magical equivalent to the number zero
Caerth looks Galzadar in the eyes. His stare is powerful, and the half-orc knows it.

"We all make mistakes, friend. I know I did. It is not easy to let go, or for others to let you forget, but you will have to forgive yourself first."

OOC: Adding a post to the Aid Another check rolled by @Knightfall above.
 

Scotley

Hero
Galzadar, we are both Elves. Perhaps outwardly different, but we have trod similar paths. I have been a wizard for decades. We did not have to do this for you. We have other important matters that need our attention desperately. But owing to the kinship I feel I have done this ritual to help you. And the ritual has succeeded. I could not make you fully what you once were, but the hold that was used to control you has been broken. You are no longer cursed. Not without some pain and suffering on your part, but we have succeeded. I have nothing to gain by speaking falsely.

You are a very unusual person, who has now overcome much. You have earned the love of a demon. That is a thing I can barely believe. I have traveled far and studied much and nowhere have I heard of this thing. But that little demon waits outside the grove. He pleaded with us to help. He spoke for you when you were unable.

I hope that you will seize the opportunity to seek atonement for the past. These good people have worked their most powerful magics to perform this ritual for you the next step can only be done with your consent. I hope you will give it. I hope we can become friends after all is done.

OOC:
diplomacy: 1D20+8 = [15]+8 = 23
 

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