They Paved Paradise (And Put Up A Monsterous Monlithic Sacrifice To Their Demonic Gods)

Repercussions - Part 1

Exerpt from the journal of Uther Lightbringer

The 17th Analect states: “Walk the path of light, that others might follow you; oppose those who walk the path of darkness.”

Gods of valour and light, I confess that the time I spend in this valley of shadow doth truly test me. So many have perished, drawn into the darkness here, innocents and champions of light both. I wonder, in my heart of hearts, whether I too will succumb to the evil that festers in the heart of so many here in Borovia. I must strive to keep the Analects of Heironeous in my heart, and to let Pelor’s light guide my path.

My soul is heavy this day; the blood of innocents is on my hands and, though I would not openly admit it, I find less solace in prayer than I ordinarily do.

We have dealt the vampire lord Strahd a heavy blow – destroying the guardian of the first wilderness fane has no doubt hurt him sorely. Yet his vengeance was swift, calculated and brutal. Riding back from Eva’s encampment we reached the crossroads guarded by the noble Sir Urik. Or rather, once guarded by Sir Urik.

We discovered his defiled body dangling from the gallows, the shadowy minions of Strahd lurking in the darkness of the graveyard nearby. He was slain in the few hours between us dealing with the wilderness fane and returning to the crossroads. Malakai used his arts to return some semblance of life to his body, allowing us to glean some little information regarding about his death. But short of learning that it was Strahd’s minion, Kavan the Grim who robbed the noble paladin of his life, the spell provided us with little other useful information. Truly, the casual indifference that our cleric sometimes displays towards the barriers of life and death makes me wonder if it is he who is most likely to fall. After all, the noblest paladin makes the deadliest blackguard.

I was determined to give the knight a noble internment, but Vampensh and Haradrim suggested instead a cremation to prevent his body becoming fouled by the taint of undeath. I confess that, in my grief, I almost resisted the idea of burning his body like a side of beef in some dockside tavern but I relented nonetheless, the wisdom of the action overriding my reservations. To their credit, my companions gave the knight a worthy sendoff, Malakai using his knowledge of religions to emulate the funery pyre employed by the barbarian tribes of the northern wastes.

Sir Urik’s possessions were divided amongst myself, Malakai and Huge. This was a dispiriting and almost mercenary act, but I take comfort from the knowledge that we might use his equipment to defeat those who slew him.

Once we scattered the knight’s ashes to the wind, we made our way back to the town. Hurrn, Urik’s former raven companion, seems to have taken to following me – no doubt to remind me of my obligation to take up the mantle of Knight of the Raven and avenge his former master. For the moment, though, the bird is a melancholy reminder of the consequences our actions have in this place.

We made it back to the town impeded only by some scattered zombies and vargouilles, hardly a concerted effort. On arriving back at the town center we were quickly challenged by the newly formed town militia. Their swift reaction to our approach, and the only scattered resistance we encountered in the town proper indicated the effort that Ismark has put into the defence of his home. I am glad that I was able to convince the drunkard son of the former burgomeister to replace his tankard with a sword and it speaks well of his character; it is no easy task for a man so broken by evil to once again walk the path of light.

Yet Strahd’s reach is long, and his vengeance has touched many of our former allies. The Seargent-at-Arms of the town’s new militia delivered the grim news that Ashlyn the Lightbringer was another recently slain by Kavan’s bloodthirsty marauding. She too was given a noble sendoff and her equipment pressed into our crusade. Thordor’s children had been present in the aftermath of the attack and described Ashlyn’s killer: Kavan. It seems the inhuman daywalker had been busy in the hours following our discovery of the wilderness fane.

Although the blacksmith and his wife were asleep – for it was just gone the dead of night when we arrived back at the village – Preston and Tanya were not, and once again allowed us to rest in the family’s barn. Preston even volunteered to assist with the watch – and in my fatigued state I regret that I made the grave error of allowing him to do so unassisted.

Ah, would that I had placed more value on the boy’s actual abilities than the strength of his spirit. I know that, save for a single error in judgement he would have gone on to be a fine paladin. Sadly, instead of delivering a speech to welcome him into the ranks of the holy, I delivered his eulogy instead.

Preston’s demise weighs heavily on my shoulders. True, the loss of Ashlyn and Sir Urik is grave indeed, but they were trained combatants nonetheless and therefore had at least some chance of defeating their agressors. Preston though, had his life plucked from him with no more resistance than an apple falling from a tree.

Journal entry concludes here

Loot
Weapons Armour Items Other
+1 Silvered longsword +1 Full plate Cloak of Charisma +2 Potion of Cure Moderate Wounds
+1 Longsword +1 Heavy steel shield Amulet of Natural Armour +1 Oil of Bless Weapon
.. +1 Full plate (female) .. Scroll of Remove Curse
.. +1 Heavy steel shield .. ..

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