Neslethea

Divine Intervention
Ariadna literally saves everyone's lives

The Lenai charged forward, with Claire handily detonating several bullywugs to clear the way for Liam to begin launching himself and his blade through several other bullywugs, firesnakes, and a variety of other Emerald Wave chucklefucks. Felicity reversed gravity for Oberon and an agent of the Emerald Wave in an attempt to give said agent a chance to defend himself, but that only led to the Lenai being led into the underground beneath the city. 

Mordecai and his demons awaited the Lenai, having cleared the way for Oberon to be reunited with Zon Kuthon – who had possessed Dani. What followed was a flurry of spells, blades, defensive maneuvers, and a triceratop'd Felicity managing to wound Oberon by way of fighting her way towards Dani. Liam struck her repeatedly with his lightblade, forcing her out of her wild shape and back into human form. As they continued to argue before the fragments of the progenitor gods, Thistleleaf – the leader of the Emerald Wave – attempted to assault Oberon.

In the end, Ariadna let her faith guide her:

Haggar, please, if your will is for us to continue I need your help. Come to me, I need you here to show me the way. I have been lost, my sister has been attacked by our party members and all I want is for the world to be safe. If my sacrifice is what it takes for you to take form in this place so be it, but remind these people WHO you are. Show them why I spent my life showing your power through me and make me your vessel……please…help me.

And the Lenai discovered themselves joined by all seven Godkings. After a moment of time spent in congress with one another, it became clear that what Oberon had been saying was true – that a Devourer was coming for Neslethea and that the combined abilities of the Godkings, their progenitors, and the Lenai would be necessary to repel or destroy it.

Thistleleaf refused to trust even in the combined word of all nine gods and made use of a Wish spell to bring the Devourer to the assembled group as well. In truth, they merely teleported to the room outside, with Mordecai completing the incantation to bring it forth.

"You will meet the Devourer."

And then they did.

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The Depths

With little difficulty, the Lenai set out to adventure beneath the canopy atop which they had lived their entire lives. In the depths, they discovered strange new creatures – including gigantic reptiles – and entire cultures, lost to time.

Perhaps the most notable discovery was that of a large metal tube spliced amidst the outgrowth of a tree. The depths made no sense – but they weren't meant to.

They came upon a temple and learned of two Gods of whom they had never before heard: Zon Kuthon and Oberon – two halves of a whole, greater together than the Gods of the surface world. Claire had abandoned what pretense of faith persisted in her heart ages ago, but Liam and Vincent finally felt vindicated – clear evidence within the temple that the Gods above were not as benevolent as the sisters believed. At first, Felicity angrily protested with pigheaded aggression and denial, while Ariadna did her very best to maintain her cool. More than once, it almost became a fight between the Lenai. 

En route to the second temple on Elwynn's map, the Lenai encountered a tremendous red dragon guarding a hoard of treasure. They joined together to slay the beast and found several unique and valuable treasures – including more of the mysterious material required to enhance their artifacts – in the dragon's hoard. 

The second temple was guarded by a puzzle requiring a demonstration of different varieties of magic. Vincent just didn't seem to have the right spells, Liam just wasn't a caster at all, Ariadna prayed, and Claire just did not believe the shield would come down. Felicity was furious, speaking to the plants, screaming into the air, trying to pull elements from the environment – eventually she discovered a small medallion that gave her the ability to bring down the majority of the layers. Together, she and Vincent tore the barrier down. Within, sentient four-legged begins with giant wings demanded they cease. Felicity attempted to reason with the… angel? but ultimately Liam's use of the name "Zon Kuthon" granted them access.

From the tomb of Oberon emerged Trinket, the Necromancer(?), confused to have returned to the world of the living so abruptly – to be suddenly and inexplicably possessed by Oberon's avatar. In Trinket's body, Oberon began to explain the way things were to be. While Liam and Vincent agreed more and more and Claire shrugged and joined what seemed to be the majority, Ariadna and Felicity steamed.

At the third temple, they encountered a wildlander people who claimed to have made peace with the White Lady, the individual behind the Purple Plague. It sounded fucking promising. An ill-timed Mass Suggestion and a useless wall of thorns later, and the Lenai were hurriedly chasing the wildlanders through their own territory. When they came upon a camp, the Lenai were all in agreement – nonlethal strikes, save as many lives as possible. Felicity wasn't having any of that, as she was poked and prodded with speartips and axeheads – when only two remained, and Liam was clearly going to incapacitate the penultimate adversary, Felicity tore her foe apart with her teeth. She rampaged, leaping over a small hill to trash the wildlanders' camp. Ariadna did her best to talk her down, and eventually Felicity relented… but the fire between the two of them and the rest of the Lenai burned still.

They eventually came upon a shaman, who was said to have "many pets". As Felicity charged towards one such pet – a giant worm – she found herself banished to an alternate dimension, a void, spinning aimlessly through the air for several moments. Liam grappled the worm, far bigger than himself, all the while slashing at its soft underbelly. The rest of the Lenai hardly needed to see to the worm at all, as Liam ran up the length of the worm's body, up into the air above the behemoth, and then drove his blade into its brain, riding it to the ground.

After a short exchange of ki blasts and spells, Liam charged forward again – breaking the shaman's concentration and allowing Felicity to return to the battlefield, wondering where in the world her worm went, and finally seeing the shaman. The others were talking that nonlethal shit again, but she narrowed her eyes and decided she wasn't having any of that – and as she began to charge forward, Liam's vorpal sword carved a horizontal line through the shaman's upper torso, shoulder to shoulder. Almost wordlessly, the Lenai retreated forward into a cave for the evening.

Pressing onward come morning, they found themselves surrounded by wildlanders prepared for their assault, chanting the name of their chosen champion – an enormous beast of a man, a giant – but the evening's conversations had born fruit. Felicity had caught sight of a new beast during the prior fight, and there seemed to be no time like the present as she transformed into a triceratops and motioned for Liam to climb atop her. Serving as his mount, the giant stood no chance at all, as a barrage of spells slammed into the beast, Felicity's horns and Liam's blade ended its life. The wildlanders scattered.

When they came upon the chieftain of the wildlanders, he set his own giant reptiles upon them. The Lenai made quick work of them, and of him. Afterwards, apparently, Liam was the new chieftain. He did his best to establish a meaningful governmental order for the wildlanders, mostly revolving around the Steelfungus Rule: Don't be an asshole. Many wildlanders nodded in agreement. Oberon's avatar returned to lead the Lenai back to Stormseye via teleportation.

Vincent attempted once more to seek an answer from Thelania, but ended up spending the evening in bed, rattling off complex mathemagical complications and dark incantations – clearly the wizard just needed some bedrest.

In the morning, Oberon broke his silence to offer the Lenai power. Claire accepted the gift with no hesitation, while Liam and Vincent accepted happily. The faithful Esnyan sisters, however, refused to abandon Haggar and refused to accept the gift. While the three recipients gained powers they could hardly comprehend, Felicity and Ariadna only watched on, well aware that the time when they would have to choose between Haggar and the Lenai was perhaps quickly approaching.

Oberon's avatar stated plainly that it was time to find Zon Kuthon. He teleported the Lenai as close to Zon Kuthon's location as he was able.

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Stormseye

The Lenai assembled in the depths of the Keep which had been foreseen in Liam's cards. Together they devised a plan of action for the following months: restore the Keep, bring people into the lands just south of the Manastorm Mountains – away from dense population centers – and establish a safehaven for people of all faiths and all loves.

Vincent spent much of the time seeking communion with Thelania. Her warnings predicted a terrible future, but he wasn't able to keep hold of enough of the memory – the memories – to press forward. He pushed his mind to its absolute limits time and time again, and spent many evenings sick with fever; in tears of despair; in sorrowful desperation.

Liam adapted surprisingly naturally to leadership. He took charge of a group of militia and got them trained, and after demonstrating his capability to do so, Knights of the Iron League came to join and support him. As the protective forces grew, so too did the population surrounding the Keep which Liam had taken to calling "Last Oath". 

A late-night tavern group meeting such as they had when first together, determined that "just south of the Manastorm Mountains" no longer cut it. After some discussion, consideration of the history and the air of destiny which they could not shake, they decided on Stormseye. The population of Stormseye continued to grow with every passing day, especially once faster methods of travel became more available. What began as a pile of rocks over a heap of rotten wheat slowly became a proper settlement.

While Alra found herself lost in self-doubt, Ariadna continued to work tirelessly towards a better understanding of and eventually curing the Purple Plague. When she interrupted a busy day of medicinal and herbal labor to invite her sister on a short journey, Alra accompanied her in near-silence. Since they first came to Stormseye, Alra had been different. She'd battled the demon differently, Ariadna had noticed. Fear was new for Alra - the brash, loud, tiny little thing. Ariadna surprised her sister with a visit to their parents. They were just so very proud of their girls. They boasted and laughed and loudly accepted an invitation to move to Stormseye with their daughters.

Kenzie, the bard who had accompanied the Lenai to Stormseye, became filled with a kind of wanderlust for the people who came to the settlement. Initially quite distraught at the loss of Trinket the, uh, Necromancer? The Lenai were never really quite sure. And loss? Or redemption? She established an Inn with a sizeable tavern, a place where she could perform her stories each and every night for anyone willing to spend the time. The sign above the door read "Trinkets".

In Esnya, the Lenai learned of a pair of doctors called Buzz and Fuzz. They ran a clinic and saw to the needs of many, but were infamous for their loud arguments over inconsequential elements of treatment plans. Claire found a young man named Cicero, whom she was convinced was a Jester by trade – it turned out that Cicero simply didn't have the heart to let her down. He did his best. Two Tailoring shops set up – The Sheepshear and The Silken Thread – engaged in an eternal battle of craftsmanship and undercutting. To wear garments made of both shops became a subtle social faux pas. Bakers, masons, woodcarvers, even a lovely little flowerseller by the name of Beatrice came to Stormseye. There were even two distinct brothels: Marina's, which offered an all-inclusive, diverse, wild – some would say messy – evening for a reasonable price; and the Companion's Guild, which focused almost exclusively on maximizing femininity and grace, the principle commodity on offer. It was not unheard of to argue in jest that the brothel known as the Companion's Guild was so called because it wasn't a guild, it wasn't a brothel, and the men and women who staffed it were much more than companions.

An evening of quiet dining at the Companion's Guild allowed Alra to begin walking down a path to reinvigorating her confidence. In time, at the advice of a companion, she stopped using her stage name and – to the quiet delight of the Marionas – started going by Felicity again, in public, before all to see. She practiced with the mercenaries, with the guards, with the soldiers, and with the Knights. Eventually, she emerged – confident and ready to face the world on her own once more.

Beneath the tree of the Staff of the Wildlands at rest, Felicity and Claire spent quite a bit of time together in quiet meditation. The rapport they had established after their duel helped the two of them to understand one another better, and Claire slowly became more outgoing and cheerful overall. From time to time, they would spar and laugh.

The Lenai enhanced their respective artifacts in the forge beneath Last Oath, and the people of Stormseye took from the world a life that they could call their own. In due time, however, the shift in the wind was felt. Liam went to Vincent, Vincent to Ariadna, and Ariadna to Felicity and Claire. Months of peace, rest, and rehabilitation had come to an end.

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Fulfillment
Episode 17

Victorious and cautiously optimistic, the Lenai began exploring the rest of the keep. They first came upon a barn that seemed to have been used for hay and centipede storage – until the centipedes transformed into pathetically weak demons that the Lenai quickly dispatched. Kenzie politely asked Trinket to make certain that there was nothing mean or scary in the basement and Trinket did so happily, once again proving his value to the Lenai. 

There remained one last building and multiple points to breach, Liam and Alra moved to enter from each point – Claire and Vincent followed after Liam, Kenzie, Tinket, and Ariadna followed after Alra. Somehow Ariadna ended up in front of Alra, which ended up being a bad decision. The Lenai breached the building to discover the southern entrance led to a room full of zombie minotaurs and the western entrance led to a snake lady with six arms and – coincidentally – six longswords. Ariadna barely shouldered the six blows that rained down upon her, scuttling out of the way and praying to Haggar for intervention – to be free of the snake lady who had so injured her.

As Claire, Vincent, and Liam – with a certain amount of druidic(?) help from Elwynn – made quick work of the zombie minotaurs, Alra moved to block the snake lady and Trinket teleported to block the other side. Together, they kept the snake lady encircled within the confines of the hallway. Kenzie gave life to a divine aura that tore at the snake lady, but the monster persisted. Trinket's happy "I've got this!" of a moment earlier became dulled by apparent paralysis. Alra attempted to claw and sting the snake lady while the blades bit at her exoskeleton and eventually forced her back into human form.

When all of her minions had been dispatched, Trinket suddenly roused from his paralysis. The necrotic energy he always held prepared glittered into a bright white radiant light, and the same light began to radiate outwards from his body as well – most notably from behind his mask. His conjured light took the form of a sword of divine power, and he struck the snake lady, causing her to perish at the cost – realized a moment later – of his own life, the radiant energy consuming him as well. Kenzie was crestfallen. The danger had been real, even of having Trinket around, Liam attempted to say in private – but in Kenzie's mind, a true and proper friend had been lost. In the eyes of Alra and Ariadna, a being which had fallen to the temptation of necromancy surely at the cost of his own humanity had instead turned towards Haggar in answer of Ariadna's plea. Even Liam begrudgingly admitted that Trinket's death was heroic.

Caution to the wind, the Lenai pressed onward. Forced back into human form and a little beat up, Alra's hubris came to roost as she burst through a door – revealing four powerful necromancers bearing the sign of the Rotting Legion. She struck out with her most powerful spell, a beam of radiant light bursting forth from her hand — and was almost immediately forced backward by a blast of necrotic energy not that dissimilar, her body forced backwards against the wall she's positioned herself near, slumping down as she lost consciousness.

As was always the case when serious injury came to the Lenai, extra precautions as well as extra risks were employed in order to see to the deaths of the necromancers. They found themselves unable to heal Alra after multiple attempts – even Elwynn's – due to an aura emanating from the necromancers. It took the death of the final necromancer standing, bitterly persisting in his efforts, to finally bring the aura down and allow for Alra to be healed. The Lenai initially decided to take an hour and rest – Alra sat where she had fallen and refused to be moved. Ariadna stayed with her throughout the eight hours, praying – eventually joined by Alra, who prayed wordlessly. She had clearly had the confidence shaken from her by falling so easily.

Fully recovered, Alra acceded and followed the Lenai into the basement. Within there was a chanting, Ariadna felt she recognized it but it wasn't until Zara at last witnessed the giant demon from her vision that she fully realized just who was before her. She quaked, terrified. The Moriana sisters psychologically checked out, Liam moved forward and challenged the demon with his sunblade. "I believe you're in my Keep. I'm here to evict you."

The demon only laughed in response.

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The Ruined Citadel
Episode 16

The Lenai, accompanied by "Trinket," a deathromancer of some description Geas'd by Kenzie, the strange new companion, continued through Ashar. Setting up camp for the evening led to a remarkable exchange: Vincent asked Trinket for any rituals he – she? – ugh, not this again, HE might know which he could teach Vincent. Excitedly, Trinket began describing a ritual to absorb the life from someone. Kenzie's face beamed – poor Trinket didn't have a damn clue how magic worked, not one single clue; the poor lil' thing sure was tryin' though. Kenzie believed in him, and began to encourage Trinket to demonstrate the ritual. As the Lenai cycled through "volunteers," eventually Ariadna had stood to declare "I'll do it," and Kenzie was getting on the ground prepared to show that Trinket was harmless — when he revealed that the ritual involved removing the target's heart.

Ariadna found a squirrel. The ritual turned the squirrel into a zombie. Liam killed it.

The Trinket Guarantee: It Will Go Wrong, Just Not How You Expect It To.

When they at last came upon the Ruined Citadel to make camp for the evening, they discovered some ancient Asharrian weaponry as well as a gigantic ancient teleportation circle. With a little time to figure it out, Kenzie believed she could open it. A little teamwork and concentration later, and the Lenai had opened the portal.

Charging through, the Lenai found themselves inside a nature-reclaimed temple of some kind. It looked very similar to the Oracle in Esnya, which made Alra freak out to no effect. 

Following Elwynn's directional insight, they made their way through the forest – the land appeared to be untouched by human hands in quite some time, was full of animals, but seemed untouched by the sorts of things the Lenai had been up against so far.

And then, as promised by the Tower – the keep at the center of Liam's destiny. Vincent attempted to protest, but the Lenai waved him quiet. He insisted that this destiny nonsense was just that, that the Keep could be anything or anywhere, that Elwynn hadn't actually proven himself trustworthy, that the Lenai themselves (and Kenzie) were behaving like characters in a book — but none listened. Instead, they happily marched forward. Stealthily, of course.

There were some sleeping swarms of demons up ahead, and Vincent was getting ready to Shatter them. The Lenai had a lovely discussion about the merits of the strategy, encircling encroachers and being able to hold the forge as an easily-defensible

Alra got fucking sliced right out of her panther form, and as the glittering magic fell away from her, she looked much weaker. The multitude of demons that moved through the walls to attack got caught in a blazing wall of fire – as did beloved Zara – and the battle was on. Liam's sunblade tore through several of them, Claire beat the shit out of another – Alra's firewall caught the house on fire. She turned into a giant scorpion and ran to save Vincent and Kenzie, retreating from the melee – but by then all the good killing had been had.

At least one demonswarm had evaded their violence, so the Lenai weren't looking forward to the benefit of surprise. The Keep lay in wait.

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Trinket
Episode 15

[we drop the nuns off and then Kenzie brainwashes Trinket #giveyourdemonicritualstowomen]

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Honor and Glory; That Fucking Crow
Episode 14

that fucking crow

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The Outcasts
Episode 13

wip

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Make Like Bird, Da?
Episode 12

So this is story about how our quest became flipped around.

We are having dealt with the journey towards [destination B] and found ourselves approaching a giant military camp. This is the best – and thanks to my special eyes, I can see. Good guys, other good guys, finally. I excitedly rushed towards the camp! Haggar may not be with these strange people and their strange ways and "laws," but I knew it was going to be a good day with so many troops assembled. A charge against the assembled forces of the Legion? Perhaps a humanitarian mission that still involved beating the crap out of people? No. But they had with them the [Esnyan mercenaries] and that was good enough for me. 

Like many times, we were forced into the usual social graces and asking permissions for this and that, but long and boring story short: we made our way into camp on the honor of our past achievements, and the nature of the threat they represented. It was time to best this whale, but no one seemed intent on doing anything.

Most heartbreaking: the city before us had been quarantined. No one was presumed alive, the plague was so bad within. I only have the faintest memories of the war and post-war, but the plague is so fresh in all of our memories. So many people are dying – and why? Some idiots in service of some dark God? This daughter of Haggar will have none of that.

But this woman, this commander, I forget her name but she was very pretty, she gets grumpy with me but then says if I want to help even a LITTLE I have to sign a bunch of stupid forms, and of course they're all in fucking Oshariyan so once again I have to call on the prettyboy Vincent, the little wizard who wears his dress better than I do but doesn't fight but with magics, to help me even read. It is apparently "the usual stuff," but it is half of an hour to initial and sign and initial and sign and initial and sign… 

The rest get to eat and enjoy a small feast, but Sestra moves to pray. I think in the moment she is praying for my safety – what I'm about to do is foolhardy, begging for something to go wrong – but if there were survivors in the city, they deserved to have their story told. My smallest form, is little bug that can fly. Oshariyans do not like the druids, and I can see why they would not, but at my insistence the pretty general had allowed me to do this. It was very important. I change into little bug and I fly high, high, high up. My eyes are good. The disaster is terrifying, utterly different from the world outside: the smoke chokes, the bodies are piled, the plaguedoctors do their deeds to save as many as they can — but do you know what sticks out most to me? Guards huddling the poor in the slums, well-defended and boarded up buildings, and best of all – a handful of ships bound together; away from shore but together. 

Not every battle is honorable, not even every battle for one's own survival, but the survivors of [destination] will stick with me for a very long time. When I return, it turns out brilliant Sestra was not praying for my safety – but Haggar's direct and divine intervention – for them. There is light and for a moment it is blinding, but when it is over, there is nothing to do but tackle Sestra and pray with her, thanking our God of War for his many blessings.

The camp is very entertaining and malyutka is off wandering on their own, apparently they went to a brothel. I will have to remember to ask about lady parts. But in what can only be called a fucking coincidence, delightful Ma Mary is at the end of a short series of questionings. She only has the supplies for one of our resurections, but she has them. I try to get a little more out of her, but you know how she can be.

It takes us longer than usual to find malyutka and it takes me an evening to prepare to return life to the body of the mouthpiece: the choice of who to bring back to life first is of much conversation, but the thought that the mouthpiece might know more information about what had happened to the Sisters while we were being fucked with by Zoma and the rest of his cowards. She did not complain of her new body, but instead was very grateful to be alive. I did the best I could with what I know, and with what the heart of the world has shared with me. 

Still there was a Sister to save, so we continued towards [destination C.] The mouthpiece was prepared to keep fighting the war. So were we.

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Plague and Inspiration
Episode 11

[road]

[zombies – explode into plagueclouds and pusgarbage]

[we fight, they die]

[alra absolutely insists on cleaning up the pus and dani absolutely insists on not, eventually alra wins out – divine shit cures it. we leave the canopy without holes and stop a little bit of plague from potentially spreading]

[plaguetown and burning bodies]

[dude]

[tallyho]

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