They came at dawn. A machine that soared through the air, coming in fast with the rising sun obscuring its approach.
An acolyte of Pelor, the Rising Sun, saw them first as she gave morning thanks to her God. Having never seen such a sight, she reported to the Knight-on-Watch: the paladin Garrickson.
Aki Warflame was growing restless. Prophecy was a fickle thing, but the barbarian was fated to come to this Nubereg and meet his destiny, so he waited…
This morning felt different to him, and when he chanced to see one of the Sun shamans peer into the dawn light, he followed her gaze.
Something was coming.
Shagrielanthalas Riven (Sha’Riven to people with less patience) counted her arrows absently while she enjoyed the sunrise on her face.
The rest of her clan had already made the seasonal migration westward, but she elected to remain to clear away the summer camp. She would not admit it to her more aloof cousins and sister, but she took any excuse to visit the human town. She always enjoyed watching the young folk race through their lives as though each day was their last.
She saw the flying machine almost immediately, and marveled at the ingenuity.
Are they jumping out of the contraption? I hope they have some sort of enchantments…
Damien saw the armored invaders before they saw him, and shadowed the nearest group’s movements, daggers ready.
“His” eyes opened. The summon could not be ignored. It had been… decades? Centuries? But there could only be one reason they had been roused after all this time: the orb was in danger.
Some of “his” compatriots had already begun to move, but not all. Some has lost all the enchantments that enabled them to be, leaving nothing but inert figures of metal and wood. Others had lost their PURPOSE, and milled about confused.
“He” could not remember everything… a name? A place? But the PURPOSE remained. Protect the orb.
On legs struggling to remember steps, the Warforged emerged from “his” slumber.
In the temple of Pelor, Igor, devotee of the Goddess of Death and the high priest of the Sun God were enjoying some thought-provoking debate on the nature of death and resurrection. However, their discussion was cut short with a peal of warning bells ringing from the temple/keep north of town.
“We must cut our discussion short, Brother,” the cleric tells Igor. "The bell summons us to action! Will you join us?’
The acolytes and junior priest already don their armour and heft maces, ready to meet whatever threatens Nubereg.
Aki Warflame, the Northerlund barbarian saw several armoured men falling from the flying beast, then noticed that they are falling slowly enough where the impact will not injure them.
It seemed his doom had found him. Aki was eager to face it, so he drew his axe and called forth the essentia of the Blink Dog totem.
Sir Henry Garrickson looked to where the acolyte pointed and saw the falling soldiers. Knowing no good would come from this, he drew his blade and moved to engage them.
Within a darkened ruin, the awakened warforged tries to communicate with others that have also answered the Purpose. One begins to babble in an unknown tongue, while two others attack each other. The two remaining functioning constructs address the one who will become known as Fossil.
“We are awakened. Our Purpose is to defend the Orb. The Orb is threatened! We must take action!”
Stepping out from the sconces where they stood, the magical guardians prepared for battle.
As the armoured men descended, Sha’Riven sighed with relief as their fall was light and slow. As they dropped, the elf notices too four red-robed humans flying alongside the soldiers.
She snapped out of her musings when she saw the robed humans brandishing wands that tossed orbs of fire at the town.
The monsters! These are innocent humans!
She nocked her bow, praying to the Lord of the Hunt to guide her aim.
In the temple of Pelor, Igor and the High Priest were enjoying some thought-provoking debate on the nature of death and resurrection. However, their discussion was cut short with a peal of warning bells ringing from the temple/keep north of town.
“We must cut our discussion short, Brother,” the cleric said. "The bell summons us to action! Will you join us?’
The acolytes and junior priest doned their armour and hefted maces, ready to meet whatever threatened Nubereg.
Soldiers in shining white armour landed and began to attack anything that moved. The town guards answered the attack, but the simple woodsmen were not a match for the professional soldiers.
One guard manages a lucky shot (his aim blessed by the prayer of Sha’Riven) that pierced the plate of a soldier, but he was then incinerated by one of the flying spellcasters.
Sha’Riven shot futilely at the wizards, then moved quickly to avoid their fiery retaliation. Seeing that the wizards were immune to her arrows, she focused her bow on the grounded soldiers.
Damien kept to the blind spot of the descending attackers. He noticed above four mages tossing small orbs of fire at the town’s houses. The daggers he wielded would be useless against the heavy plate of the attackers, so he decided to not be a hero.
Another town guard fired an arrow at a red-robed flying spellcaster, but it bounced away as though deflected by a magical force. A moment later the same guard was set alight another orb of flames. More militiamen were being slaughtered the attackers.
Damien skirted the melee and headed north, shadowing a group of the soldiers. Overhead the four wizards seemed to be clearing a path, not firing at random.
With blessing and divine favour granted, the faithful of Pelor and Igor, their death cleric guest, sallied forth from the temple and repelled the attacking soldiers, but not before the high priest was struck down. Igor broke off pursuit of the soldiers to save the priest’s life.
From the north of town, Sir Henry Garrickson rode forth to rally the acolytes and drive back the soldiers. Henry’s horse however was killed under him by the airborne wizards.
Sha’Riven returned fire, her aim true. While the enchantments against arrows prevented any damage to the wizards, her real purpose was to draw their magical attacks. Praying to the Lord of the Hunt, she was warded against the brunt of the magical fire.
Damien manages to remain unseen in the chaos.
Aki roared a challenge at the nearest soldier, but the warrior took a wound from a wicked blade; his skins a poor match to the swords of the attackers.
At the keep north of the town, Lord Nubereg stood with his the faithful of Bahamut, awaiting the assault from the invaders. It was not long coming, and the attackers quickly breached the gates, cutting down footmen with impunity as they advanced.
Damien continued to the shadow the force that separated from the main assault group. As he’d expected, the attacks were a diversion. Whatever the airship was here for, it was in the temple ruins outside of town. He had “explored” the ruins a couple times himself, but the honour guard of paladins discouraged him from digging deeper.
The attackers advanced upon the abandoned temple and quickly dispatched the honour guard paladin. To keep attention away from the temple ruins, the flying wizards focused the attacks now on the Nubereg keep.
The warforged had one Purpose – to defend that what lay in the temple. Alas, countless years had passed, and all too few remained. Collapsed pillars, expired enchantments, and tomb robbers had depleted the original number. Fossil and the other ancient guardians were quickly repulsed, Fossil the only one remaining intact.
But unfortunately for the marauding force, the waforged were not the only guardians, just as their commander had warned…
As “he” flickered in and out of consciousness, the sounds of unlucky invaders meeting magical traps echoes through the chambers of the tomb…
Sha’Riven noticed a human wearing animal skins and glowing with some sort of primal aura. He was not among the attacker, though he bled from a wound. She healed his wound with divine power as he addressed her.
Healing magic sealed the gash in Aki Warflame’s side. He realized the elf woman must be a shaman of some sort. She was the enemy of his enemy, the Red Men of his Vision. Whoever she was, he had an idea.
“You can shoot, yes? Please draw attention of the flying red men!”
Sounding as good a plan as any she had, Sha’Riven again shot arrows at the shielded mages.
This time, however, as one of them lined up a shot of his wand, the wild man blinked out of existence, and reappeared above the flying wizard. Though his magical spell deflected arrows, it was no defense against a large steel axe.
With the high priest stabilized, Brother Igor returned to the melee, and found a knight of Bahamut pinned under his dead horse. He could not move the horse, so he instead used the power of his Goddess to make t he knight grow to twice his size.
Sir Henry could easily move the horse off himself, and did so. After a brief thanks to Igor, the two saw a group of invaders converging upon the wood elf archer.
Sha’Riven was quickly being flanked, so she shouldered her bow and brandished her spear to face the attackers.
Aki “rode” the dead wizard downward as the flying enchantment faded, then blinked to the elf’s side.
Damien reached the ruins, and watched as the odd barbarian took down a flying wizard. An idea formed in his mind. He quickly clamoured up the side of the ruins’ facade and waited.
His patience was quickly rewarded, as one of the remaining wizards flew nearby.
This confirmed to him that the ruins were the real target. He leaped at the wizard, and grabbed hold.
the wizard tried to unwrap himself from Damien’s grip, but he held on tight. Both slowly dove down, the flying spell not strong enough to carry them both. The wizard tried to cast a spell on his attacker, but Damien’s grip kept him pinned.
Within the temple ruin, the remaining warforged tried to rouse the fallen guardians. Alas they were too damaged to continue. However as they died, the remaining animating magic within them flowed into the last warforged.
Slowly the essence of the destroyed warforged repaired “him,” as more shrieks and screams echoed from the catacombs…
At Nubereg Keep, the attackers were be repulsed by the better-trained and equipped holy knights of the Platinum Dragon. The two unfettered wizards withdrew from the town and flew north to assist the besiegers.
Igor and Sir Henry converged with Aki and Sha’Riven, and the four stood their ground against the armoured attackers, neither side gaining any advantage.
In the air over the temple, Damien and the wizard struggled still.
Within the ruin, the warforged drew the remaining magical infusions that gave life to “his” fellow guardians. it seemed to leap towards the warforged, determined to complete the Purpose.
The command echoed in “his” mind.
Suddenly, from deep below, the was a cry of triumph.
Suddenly, just as they arrived, the attackers withdrew. Each imbibed a small vial and rose upward to the waiting airship.
In the town, the four defenders watched as the invaders flew upward, taking time to grab allies that fell in the battle.
Sha’Riven quickly re-drew her bow and shot a vial from one attacker’s hand before it could be drunk.
The two wizards attacking the keep flew to meet Damien and the trapped wizard. Seeing this as a good time to withdraw, Damien relinquishes his hold and dashes away from the spellcasters.
Diving among the ruins, he barely avoids being immolated by the magical attacks. The wizards withdraw towards the airship.
The warforged watched helplessly as the Purpose was removed from the temple. The magic had not repair “his” legs.
Two attacker had survived whatever defenses remained. The rushed out of the temple gripping their prize.
Desperately the warforged tried to pursue, but the animated body could not go any further.
Damien was out of one fire and suddenly cast into another. After avoiding the wizards’ fiery retribution, he now faced two heavily-armed and amoured soldiers.
But heavy armour makes for a slow pursuit, so Damien wisely headed back out of the temple, fast as he could.
Damien hustled out of the ruin, hopping over the dead honour guard as he went.
Sorry mate, better you than me, he thought as he rushed forth.
The last members of the raiding party returned to the airship.
“Marshal Nemina! We have succeeded!”
The Commander was pleased. With the Orb, the White would rise in the Emperor’s esteem. Let Linin and Roltus engage in their intrigues. Results would speak louder than secret dealings.
“Set course for Xix. Drop some crystals to slow pursuit!”
The airship turned south, following the trade road that led them to Nubereg.
Aki was the first to see them, and he pointed the small rocks tossed of the flying machine.
“Elf Shaman! The enemy continues mischief”
Sha’Riven presumed the Totemist meant her. From the airship were being tossed small rocks.
As each rock impacted, they coalesced into living elements. Humanoid fire, rock, wind, and water rose and attacked the would-be defenders.
Damien saw the rocks turn into elemental monsters and attack a small group near the temple of Pelor.
There had been more than enough excitement for one day, so all he wanted to do was go back to his shop and barricade it shut, but…
A course of expletives rolls over Damien’s tongue. His shop, on fire. All of his wonderful clandestine merchandise… gone. And he stilled owed the suppliers in Denhagen the down-payment…
Blades out, Damien charged the nearest creature, a living pillar of water.
His attacks did not seem to affect the water elemental, and it lashed at him with crashing liquid fists.
Igor, Sha’Riven, and Henry engaged the earth and fire elementals, faring little better.
Meanwhile Aki was getting buffeted by the air creature.
Suddenly, the earth and air monsters were struck and destroyed by orbs of fire.
A newcomer, a walking statue of wood and shining silver grasped the wand dropped by the dead wizard.
The flame wand destroyed the earth and air elemetals. The water elemental, possessing some sense of self-preservation, disengaged from Damien and tried to dive into the town well. By instinct alone Damien tossed a dagger after it, and it connected with something vital in the creature. The dagger wedged into the well stones, and the elemental’s remains poured slowly down the side.
Remaining was the being of living flame. It charged the warforged and knocked “him” down and out.
Retrieving his dagger, Damien noticed it had somehow taken on a bluish hue and felt slightly cold to the touch.
Willing to try anything, Damien flung the dagger at where the fire monster’s heart would be, and whatever had changed the dagger now made it deadly to the elemental.
Igor prayed to bring water forth and extinguish the flames on their would-be rescuer. Aki set about to affirm any remaining invaders were dead. Sha’Riven setabout to help the wounded, while Henry headed to the keep to convene with the Lord Nubereg.
Damien considered his options. He lost his stock, and he now was in hock for a few thousand gold. To top it all off, he lost his shop.
After the dust settled and fires expired, the five defenders gathered around the remains of the strange walking statue.
“Who’s this Fossil?” Damien asked…