Rel's Faded Glory III: Glory Reborn (FINAL UPDATE 6/22 - SHE'S DONE, BABY!!)

Rel

Liquid Awesome
Jon Potter said:
Beautiful! I'd feel optimistic for our heroes if you hadn't already said this:

Aw, c'mon, Jon, do you really think that after all this buildup that I'd just let Bale go *poof* like that? That's a good way to get your RBDM card revoked!

But just to show that I'm deep down a really nice guy, I'm going to update again after I finish my lunch. That way you won't have to spend too much time in suspense.
 

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Rel

Liquid Awesome
It wasn’t working.

The stone transformation caused by the Bloodstone Blade caught up with Bale but he was not petrified himself. It seemed to stop just at the point where the Blood rose up from the ground to form his enormous body and would go no further. It did seem to have an adverse effect on the Blood Ferals who could no longer leap into and out of the river of Blood. Some of them attempted to merge with Bale himself only to find themselves rebuked with a giant backhand that sent them splattering across the ground and onto the horde of minions who were slowing down as their evil lord bellowed his rage at the world.

Bale pushed onward and though the petrifaction of the stone seemed to slow him somewhat he did not stop. It gave the slower of his minions a chance to catch up with him and the long, strung out army began to clump up a bit more.

Speaks turned and dove back toward where Cathal and Rhys awaited. A minute later he resumed his human form and stood before them. “It isn’t working. Bale is only slowing down and his army is clustering more tightly around him.”

Cathal shook his head, “Then our plan has failed. We must isolate him if possible. We cannot allow him the full strength of his army.” He started over toward the broad, smooth expanse of stone that had been a river of Blood only a few minutes ago. But before he could reach for the blade, a blast if icy frost ripped across he and Speaks. Both men were utterly surprised and cast about for the source of the attack.

Appearing in mid-air above them was the Blue Demoness, eyes filled with mindless hatred. She began to surge toward them with her giant scythe in hand.

Cathal reacted first and stepped in front of where the Bloodstone Blade remained plunged into the stone river, drawing his crackling bastard sword. He would not let her try and steal the weapon that they still hoped might be their salvation. He made ready to strike if she came any closer.

Speaks wasted no time either. He feared her weapon far less than the possibility that she might try and take the Bloodstone Blade. Knowing how slippery she could be, he called immediately on the Wild and limned her in a faint, flickering Faerie Fire.

The Demoness bore angrily down on the Druid and chopped at him with her huge weapon. He avoided the worst of the blow but suffered a cut across the arm as he backpedaled, doing his best to draw her away from the Bloodstone Blade. Cathal slashed at her as she went by leaving a deep cut across her abdomen that smoked with the lightning that played across his blade. He was reluctant to pursue her any further lest he leave the Bloodstone Blade unattended.

Many times she had fought these men and never had they killed her. Gella had cheated death since first they met at the bottom of the sinkhole in the Blackpeaks. But her frustration had grown with each failed confrontation and now as she was held in the unwilling thrall of her new master who instilled hatred and rage in his followers, she was determined that they would be the ones who were defeated this time. She raised her scythe high overhead and chopped downward at the robed one in front of her, delivering a terrible slash to his shoulder.

Speaks grimaced under the weight of the attack but glanced past her and knew what he must do. He spun away from her, barely avoiding another slash from her lengthy weapon and scrambled a dozen paces away from her bringing his arm up to shield himself. She started toward him preparing to finish him off but only managed a couple of steps before the world exploded around her.

First one and then another Fireball shot from Rhys’ outstretched wand as he plied his deadly magic swiftly, aided by magic that would Hasten his actions. Not all of his time in Sythia had been spent wooing elven princesses. Only most of it.

The heat of Gella’s rage was surpassed by the heat of the twin explosions and her body was torn completely in half. She spun, landing in two places. Her torso raised itself up on her arms for a moment as her hair burned away and she at last collapsed onto the flaming grass, never to rise again.

Cathal did not wish to waste any further time during which others of Bale’s minions might come to assault them. He sheathed his weapon and gripped the hilt of the Bloodstone Blade in both hands. Bracing both feet against the ground, his muscles strained and with a grinding sound the blade slipped free of its stony sheath. Cathal staggered back away from the Blood River as it began to resume its sanguine consistency.

The three men hurried back aboard the Flying Carpet and Rhys took them back into the air to return south where the true battle was to take place. As they rose into the late morning sky, Cathal leaned close to Speaks. “I fear,” he said, “that Lazarius is going to be furious with us for killing her without him.”

Speaks managed to actually laugh and wondered if it would be the last time. “If we’re still alive tomorrow, we’ll tell him then.”

And so it was that three friends went to do battle for the fate of the world with smiles on their faces.
 

Rel

Liquid Awesome
The companions stood ready in the shade of the Live Oak and Treants on the small island amid the marsh they’d created. They very nearly crackled with magic from all of the protective enchantments that had been placed upon them. Every possible ward they thought they might need and several they desperately hoped that would have no call for using had been applied as the hour of battle grew near. A full half dozen Lazarii shifted from foot to foot waiting for his next chance to ply his magic, thanks to his Mirror Image enchantment. Cathal stood with much of his gear laid upon the ground before him. In his hand he held a necklace of thick, plain metal links.

None spoke as they all listened to the noises of Bale’s army approaching past the rise to the north. At their backs were all the allies they could muster. The thousands of Legionnaires, the hundreds of Fodor Tribesmen, the dozen Orcs they’d rescued from Hell and the handful of Paladins who followed Capito. Thus far there had been no sign of Great Root and his forest allies nor the Dwarves of the Stone Tooth. Everyone just hoped that they had not blundered into Bale already and been destroyed.

Two more brave warriors had joined them upon the island. Magdar had left his men behind the battlements, on the far left flank where they were far enough from the prejudiced glares of the humans. His honor demanded that he face the danger of Bale directly and his warrior spirit cried out for revenge for what had been done to his people. It was their blood that fed this horrid abomination and he intended to see that it was stopped. Ilrath of course stood alongside Magdar as well as Speaks with whom he had braved many dangers already. This was the group that stood at the tip of the spear when the ripples began to spread across the marsh at the approach of the monstrous footsteps of Bale’s army.

The top of Bale’s head was the first thing to become visible above the ridge. Then came the Nothingness of black that comprised the head of his massive mace. Moments later the heads and torsos of Giants and Ogres came into view to form the rest of Bale’s vanguard. The great Lizard-Thing lumbered forth at his left hand, eyes full of hateful intelligence.

“Good luck,” said Marcus as he mounted his Hippogriff, “and have faith.” He took to the sky with the reins in his right hand and the Shield held close in his left. More of Bale’s army crept into view beyond the thicket wall as Marcus and his mount strove skyward and forward. The Warrior-Priest of St. Cuthbert swooped across the right flank of the battlefield and raised his voice:

“Bale, brother of Bane, long have you been dead and, before this day is done, dead you shall be again! With you, you have brought Evil and Destruction! On our side is Right and Order! These things will not succumb to your reign of terror! Prepare to meet your final end!”

Bale paused, his expression unreadable at this distance were it even possible to guess the mindset of the reborn godling of hate, murder and destruction from facial features that were, after all, comprised solely of blood. One would have to conclude from his bellowing laughter that followed that he was not in any way intimidated. He proceeded to make what must surely have ranked among the top few most casual gestures ever witnessed and unleashed a hail of fire and stone upon Marcus and his mount.

From the cloudy sky descended a column of red hot stones that struck the lone rider with a horrific display of destruction that instantly slew the Hippogryph and left Marcus reeling with pain. Thankfully Lazarius had had the foresight to enchant him with a spell allowing him to Fly even without his mount.

Leaving a thin trail of smoke behind him, Marcus retreated toward friendly lines. The first blow of the battle had been struck and already one of their most powerful warriors was nearly dead, his mount slain from beneath him.
 

Rel

Liquid Awesome
Still howling with laughter, Bale charged forward. His army charged as well but were not nearly so fast. Thus it was that he arrived first and alone to the thicket wall Speaks had raised over the last few days. The godling swung his mace in a low arc before him and the closest part of the wall was gone. It ceased to exist and, although no one realized it, any memory of it ever having existed was also gone. Bale charged through this gap trailing his river of Blood behind.

He pointed his mace in the direction of the left flank fortifications and another barrage of Meteors Swarmed out of the sky. Upwards of a hundred Legionnaires were incinerated in an instant leaving only craters and fire to fill this gap in their formation. The palisade wall was burning in the few places where it still stood along that part of the line. Steam filled the air as water ran into this area from the broken wall holding back the temporary swamp. And fear filled the hearts of men to see such power and destruction wielded with barely a thought.

Speaks spotted the gap in the defenses left by Bale’s mace and couldn’t believe he had missed such an obvious flaw. He reached out with his magic and the area became alive with vines and roots, reaching out to Entangle any who tried to follow Bale. As his magic took hold, a horn sounded behind him.

Capito and the Paladins took flight on their steeds. Lances projected from each rider except the one in front. Capito held high the Mace and gave praises to his lord, St. Cuthbert for strength and justice as his Pegasus mount pulled slightly away from the slower Hippogriffs.

Bale paid no attention to these oncoming riders and let loose more meteors from the sky, destroying another swath of an Imperial Legion near the center of the army. Sweat stood on the brows of Lazarius and his Mirror Images. He had tried and failed again to counter the magic of Bale who was simply too strong for him to stop. But he would continue to try because even a single success would save the lives of hundreds.

The frontrunners of Bale’s army were pushing their way through the edges of the gap he had created in the thicket wall despite Speaks attempts to plug it. The Druid called upon the Wild again and Flame Struck from the heavens burning many where they stood. Still others were getting through and there was little he could do about it.

A pair of Giants ripped through on the left side of the gap and were quickly followed by a score of Ogres and the Lizard-Thing. A flight of Dragonkin soared over the wall as well, the call to the Blood of Bale having overcome their loyalty to their dragon mistress. At the same moment, a half dozen vortexes appeared in the waters of the marsh near the thicket. A second later, the insectoid forms of Umber Hulks burrowed up through the wet ground and shook themselves free of water as their burrows were immediately swamped again.

Bale turned his attention to the rider who was coming directly toward him and another Meteor Shower burned through the clouds above and hurled itself at Capito and his Pegasus. Both withstood burns but the magical wards provided by Lazarius kept them alive. Lazarius was glad to see that as he had once again tried and failed to counter Bale’s magic.

Along the eastern side of the battlefield a blaze of silver light filled the sky as the Shining Lady came to the aid of their cause. Flame Struck down in a pillar to smash into Bale but he seemed more surprised than harmed at the attack. It seemed that this at least distracted the murderous godling from Capito’s charge for a moment and the Right Hand of St. Cuthbert urged his mount forward.

Bale gave a cry of rage and made a gripping motion toward the Shining Lady with his left hand. Whatever foul magic he did, she managed to resist if only barely. It kept his focus on her for an instant longer and that was enough.

Capito howled in triumph as he prepared to smite Bale in the name of his lord. As he closed within Bale’s reach, the godling brought down the destruction incarnate of his mace to strike this insolent whelp from existence. Capito’s martial training kicked in and he tried to bring his own weapon across to block the blow. But too late.

The Sphere of Annihilation swept through man and mount, wiping them mind, body and soul from creation leaving the Mace hanging for the barest instant without a wielder before it too was struck by the impossible Nothingness of the weapon.
 

Rel

Liquid Awesome
Those who had barely known Capito would recall only seeing the shining Mace hanging in the air before Bale. But about what happened next, there could be no doubt. The explosion was tremendous and seemed to knock the orderly progression of time out of its normal track. The world stood still.

Both Mace and mace were destroyed in the blast. Bale again seemed more shocked than harmed but the same could not be said of his closest minions. A score of Blood Ferals were blasted to liquid and nearly ten Ogres were rendered boneless corpses by the detonation. The foot-deep marsh was blasted back in a spray that left the ground bare for sixty feet in every direction from Bale before the water rushed back in to reclaim its place. Bale held his once mighty weapon in front of him and now held only a shattered staff. His howl of rage chilled the blood of every many present and seemed to cue time to resume its normal course again.

The Paladins of St. Cuthbert plowed their lances into Bale but his body of Blood offered little resistance and their weapons served only as an annoyance. He smote one of the riders from his mount to land senseless in the mud below. This man tried to rise but was surrounded in seconds by a fresh batch of Blood Ferals who swarmed from their master’s blood to do his bidding. These were joined by the swooping Dragonkin who dove down to attack the other Paladins who fought fearlessly despite impossible odds.

The companions stood back, hoping that the Paladins would and could disengage and fall back. Their attack was brave and none could deny that Capito’s Charge had deprived Bale of one of his fiercest weapons. But it ran against the careful plan they had made. All of them knew that the only way to defeat Bale would be to separate him from his army and the best way to do that was to let him charge ahead of it, not fight in place and allow them to catch up. If only the Paladins would fall back then they could all engage Bale himself without having to defend themselves from his countless minions.

But the Paladins fought on amid the blood and mud. And they found that aid had arrived from an unexpected quarter. The air around the Dragonkin filled with feathers as they were slashed by beak and claw from the dozen or so Dire Owls and Dire Hawks that now beset them. Great Root’s army had arrived.

But these new allies could not delay the fate of the Paladins for long. Bale struck down two at once while the Dragonkin killed another pair. The last one stood, hopelessly battling against two score foes. He struck out with his sword, hacking away at Bale’s invulnerable body of Blood when a shadow appeared over him in an instant. The Lizard-Thing appeared out of thin air and slashed him down with its daggerlike claws.

The fallen Paladin was incinerated as Holy Fire washed over the entire cluster of evil creatures at the guidance of the Shining Lady. She would meet that valiant knight again in Celestia and commend him for his bravery.
 

Rel

Liquid Awesome
Well, my goal of course was to finish this thing by tonight. I don't think that's going to happen. I'm getting close to the end but I don't want to rush through it tonight after a pretty exhausting weekend. There is plenty to chew on for the next day or so until I can finish and make sure that I do the finale justice. It'll be done by Wednesday for sure.

And I think it is entirely in keeping with the theme and pace of this story hour for me to miss a deadline, don't you? ;)
 
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BSF

Explorer
Oh sure! OK, we will let you slide on this one. ;)

Quite a beginning to the battle, that is to be sure. Don't leave us hanging too long, please?
 

Rel

Liquid Awesome
BardStephenFox said:
Oh sure! OK, we will let you slide on this one. ;)

Quite a beginning to the battle, that is to be sure. Don't leave us hanging too long, please?

Don't worry. There won't be any updates today but there definately will be tomorrow and I'll likely finish her up on Wednesday.

I had forgotten how long the final battle ran. The Battle Report by Lazarius' player ran for over five pages. I'm about two pages into it so far.
 
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Cathal

First Post
Rel said:
I had forgotten how long the final battle ran. The Battle Report by Lazarius' player ran for over five pages. I'm about two pages into it so far.

Looking forward to the final write-up, Rel...you make us look so good!


Oh, btw, most of those five pages in the final battle were entries like "Lazarius casts Improved Invisibility on himself", "Lazarius renews his Stoneskin", and "Lazarius pre-casts Teleport"... ;)
 

Riggs

First Post
haha you know it.
Also, in case you all didn't know it, you got the treat of learning what the plural of Lazarius is...:cool:

A full half dozen Lazarii shifted from foot to foot waiting for his next chance to ply his magic,
 

Rel

Liquid Awesome
With the brave band of Paladins all dead, Bale howled in victory and charged forward. Before him scattered the Dragonkin who soared off chasing the Dire Owls and Hawks. The only minion to keep pace with Bale was the Lizard-Thing who vanished and reappeared at the left hand of his evil master.

It was time to act. Bale was pulling away from his minions and the companions wanted to keep it that way. Speaks stepped forward and from the marsh and thicket he conjured a cloud of Insects to Plague the Orcs, Giants and Blood Ferals who struggled forward after their master. Just behind him his friends prepared for their roles in the coming confrontation with Bale.

Marcus, having healed himself somewhat in the moments since the battle first started, landed next to Cathal and performed an minor ritual that would allow him to Shield the wounds of anOther. So warded, Cathal lowered the necklace over his head and his Body became as Iron. The belongings he still wore seemed to merge with his newly metal body and he knelt to retrieve the things he had need of in the coming fight, most importantly the Bloodstone Blade.

Marius puzzled his way through a scroll that Lazarius had prepared and wings sprouted from his back as he plied the magic to Alter himSelf. The others held their ground, awaiting their moment to strike.

The Shining Lady swooped in to confront those who continued to follow Bale on the near side of the thicket wall. Here flaming sword slashed at one of the Giants leaving a terrible wound. Beneath her the Blood Ferals ceased attempting to fend off the plague of insects that they were beset with and dove into the River of Blood to escape.

Bale glanced back to see that his troops were coming under attack by this lone Celestial. With a snarl of contempt he gestured with his left hand and unleashed his foul power upon her. It was as though her body was turned inside out. She died a merciful instant later, her form dissolving in a cloud filled with motes of light. Marcus cried out at the loss of an avatar of his lord as the others came to understand and fear how mighty was the destructive power that Bale wielded.

Bale and his army continued to push toward the island unabated.
 

Rel

Liquid Awesome
Just a quick note to give some perspective on this battle thus far. If it seems like the PC's are not doing very much except continuing to layer on the protective magics then you're right. The confrontation thus far has taken place at extreme range. It is only at this point that Bale has approached closer than 3-400 feet.

The entire strategy of the party was to let Bale's rage and desire for destruction lead him out away from the bulk of his army who are having to struggle to and through the thicket wall to follow him. Their hope is that Bale can be isolated so that they only have to worry about being slain by him rather than having enemies at every side.

I'm hoping that I've managed to paint a fairly vivid picture of the action but if there is anything that you don't understand then I'm happy to answer questions to clarify things.
 

Rel

Liquid Awesome
Battle raged in the skies above as the Dire Owls and Hawks clawed and bit at the Dragonkin. Whenever one of the scaly beasts strayed too close to the fortifications a swarm of arrows and javelins surged skyward to attack it. But this encounter was merely a sideshow. The fate of those who stood against Bale was about to be decided as he charged forward to within a hundred paces of the island.

Speaks transformed into a huge bear as Lazarius vanished from view. Cathal struggled to use one of his own enchantments on himself but found that is Iron Body made magic very difficult. Marcus was in prayer, focusing his will for the task ahead. Marius and Magdar fired arrows at the Dragonkin circling overhead with the Imperial neatly skewering one in the head. With a smile he slung his bow and readied himself for close combat. His took his rapier in hand and felt the reassuring presence of the Black Blade in the other. Win or lose, it would drink its fill of souls today.

Suddenly Bale was nearly upon them, barely more than a dozen paces from where they stood. He towered over them to a height of nearly thirty feet and with a bellow and gesture he called the fires of heaven down upon them. Meteors Swarmed down upon the island, charring wood and scalding flesh. The magical wards against fire that they had placed upon themselves saved them from the worst of the blast but they still felt the wrath of Bale upon their skins.

In the next moment, the minions of Bale were among them. The Lizard-Thing appeared from nowhere within twenty feet and the Dragonkin dove down to land among them, lashing out with their long spears.

Lazarius popped into view as a Bolt of Lightning leapt from his fingertips to blast Bale. Blood boiled from the godling’s flank but he did not slow. Cathal and Marcus moved together to engage Bale directly. As they went, Cathal managed to get one final protective magic into place that he hoped might Shield him from Bale’s might. Marcus continued applying healing magic to himself knowing that he would share in whatever wounds the Brigante withstood.

Marius took to the air on his new wings and a thrust from his sword took down one of the Dragonkin who were alighting among them. From his vantage he saw Bale rush forward wielding the shattered remains of his mace and slash at Marcus, staving in part of his armor and nearly knocking the warrior from his feet. Things were about to get ugly.

Trying to thin out the other attackers, Ilrath, Magdar and Speaks all charged the Lizard-Thing in a rush. Axe and tooth sought weak places in the creature’s thick scales and Speaks’ ursine jaws attempted to plant a Kiss of Death on its hide. The Lizard-Thing proved resistant to such magic and slashed Speaks in return. The two great beasts were now locked in a titanic struggle.

A pair of Treants joined the low altitude aerial battle that Marius and the Dragonkin were now engaged in. Branch and spear traded blows with Marius trying to stay clear of the worst of it, swooping in to flank the Dragonkin and provide a telling blow with his rapier whenever possible. One of the Dragonkin dove in toward Marius, leading with his deadly spear but just before his blow could strike home a flurry of glowing Magical Missiles struck him dead from the sky. Lazarius nodded to Marius and turned his attention to the other minions who were starting to catch up with their master.

Marcus continued to provide healing for himself and Cathal as the Brigante warrior confronted Bale directly. His first slash with the Bloodstone Blade struck home but the magic did not overcome the power of the godling. But for the first time it seemed to register with Bale that a mighty weapon was being brought to bear that could possibly hurt him. With a cry of rage, he lashed out with his broken haft and left a gouge in Cathal’s iron skin.

Fire pierced down from the heavens as Flame Struck close to Marius, incinerating a pair of Dragonkin. He looked up to see Great Root standing inside the eastern tree line. Animals of every description flooded past the Great Guardian of the Darkwood and dashed to battle Bale’s army.

Speaks saw his old friend had arrived at last and delivered a vicious series of claws and bites to the Lizard-Thing. At first he thought that his attacks had driven the creature from battle as it recoiled in mass of scale and blood. But a moment later he understood that the beast was only buying itself room to unleash a brutal assault on their minds. Pain shot through the heads of those who had attacked it and the Mind Blast left Ilrath and Magdar stunned.

Just as they were losing a pair of their warriors, Bale was gaining a pair of his own. Two Giants had outdistanced Speaks’ swarm of insects and pounded their way to join the melee that took place at the island in the marsh.
 
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Rel

Liquid Awesome
Old One said:
<chanting>

Go...go...go...go...

Good stuff, Rel...keep it comin'!

~ OO

Look for one more post, probably this evening when wife and daughter go to swim class. And thanks for the encouragement.
 


Thought it was time I dropped in again to say how much I'm still enjoying this tale.

And the climactic fight, so far ... truly excellent :D . Keep up the good work, Rel!

One question, re Capito and the paladins swooping in and getting minced. Had the party not communicated their plan to let Bale outdistance his followers, or were they trying to get the glory ... or had you planned it all along to get rid of Bale's mace before he hit the PCs?

OK that's three questions :heh: .
 


Cathal

First Post
HalfOrc HalfBiscuit said:
Thought it was time I dropped in again to say how much I'm still enjoying this tale.

And the climactic fight, so far ... truly excellent :D . Keep up the good work, Rel!

One question, re Capito and the paladins swooping in and getting minced. Had the party not communicated their plan to let Bale outdistance his followers, or were they trying to get the glory ... or had you planned it all along to get rid of Bale's mace before he hit the PCs?

OK that's three questions :heh: .

Oh, no doubt, we told repeatedly Capito of the plan, and he made the decision, himself, to charge ahead--something about valor, striking down the unholy, etc. Meantime, our own paladin (the wise and mighty Marcus) knew that discretion is the better part of valor and stood his ground with those whom he knew could help him defeat the BBEG at hand. [Capito was the "Spanker" and Marcus was the "Planker", if you remember your recent St. Cuthbertian history lessons]

From a metagame standpoint, there's probably some DM ex Machina activity on the whole mace thing(which Cathal called the Mourning Star, briefly), but you never know with Rel at the helm.
 

Rel

Liquid Awesome
HalfOrc HalfBiscuit said:
One question, re Capito and the paladins swooping in and getting minced. Had the party not communicated their plan to let Bale outdistance his followers, or were they trying to get the glory ... or had you planned it all along to get rid of Bale's mace before he hit the PCs?

OK that's three questions :heh: .

Who is Capito? I can't seem to recall...oh yeah, that guy! ;)

Capito and the Paladins of St. Cuthbert knew of the party's plan and made no objections to it. But Capito was listening to a higher power and his own conscience about when was the moment for him to strike. In the end he understood that he had the only weapon that could destroy Bale's weapon of utter destruction (the Mace Capito was given as the Right Hand of St. Cuthbert was also a Rod of Cancellation). But the only way he had of delivering it was to charge out ahead of the others.

The Paladins also understood that the man they followed had an important role to play in this affair. They joined in the charge to try and assure that none of Bale's minions could stop Capito from getting to his target. They knew that doing so likely meant their own deaths but that was considered a trivial matter.

I think that at first the PC's thought that Capito was being a showboating glory-hog or possibly even defecting to the other side when he charged out ahead. Because of the prophecy they'd been told, they had braced themselves for him to turn to the "dark side" the whole time. It wasn't until the explosion that left Bale with the shattered haft of his mace that they understood Capito's Sacrifice. And there was a round of almost reverent "Ah ha!"'s since they now understood why only one of the Hands of St. Cuthbert would see the shores of Celestia. At least that is my impression of what they knew and when they knew it. The players themselves might have a different recollection.

As to whether this was the plan all along, I'll just say that being a GM or a god has its advantages. Perhaps St. Cuthbert knew all along that nobody stood even a chance against Bale so long as he wielded a Sphere of Annihilation on a Stick. Perhaps knowing that, he sought to put a weapon that could counter Bale's in the hands of a follower. Perhaps he chose someone whose dedication to the Order had forced him to make tough decisions his whole life and who had purged any sense of fear or doubt from his psyche, making him a rather arrogant jerk.

Or maybe they just got lucky and the right person was in the right place at the right time. Who's to say?

But the real question is "How would things have played out if Marcus had opted to take up the Mace rather than the Shield when the Shining Lady offered him the choice? Would he have been destroyed? And did Capito get a choice too or did he have to take whatever Marcus left behind?"

OK that's three questions :heh: . ;)
 

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