D.P., Jan, Scott, David, Craig, Morgan, Tod, Johnna
While standing in and around our tent, pitched in the Mournlands, we hear a catapult launch something. Looking up, we see Rune flying through the air. With typical alacrity, he lands near us. Calliope follows. Phaedra and Runty explain our situation regarding the tektites, the Creation Forge, and the Lord of Blades to Rune, bringing him up to speed.
The docent on Crusher’s chest speaks to him in his mind. It says, “An unidentified warforged presence is approaching from the northeast It is alone and not entirely unfamiliar.” Crusher asks his ‘fleshie’ friends to go into the tent. “The presence has stopped and is attempting to hide,” says the docent.
Rune yells, “Let's kill them all!” Crusher nods, goes into the tent, and drags Runty outside by his hair then hits him hard in the gut. Runty rolls the wrong way for some reason. Knowing that their act is useless, Crusher calls out for Aerial and says he is joining the Lord of Blades and that the ‘fleshies’ are prisoners of his and Rune’s.
The woman appears, saying that she's glad to see Rune and Crusher. She knows, however, that they do not truly plan to join forces with the Lord of Blade. She tells them both to drop the act. The woman leads us towards Metrol, to the town created for and almost a living construct itself. “Why a moving city?” Crusher asks. “To combat the moving Wall of Breland,” she says. She leads us through corridors that change and shift as we pass through them, as if alive. Rune sees into the living web of the construct. In a chamber is the Lord of Blades, assisted by another warforged named Phobus who turned to the Lord of Blades several years before and who is now a trusted ally, but Phobus might also find the Lord’s radicalism to be off-putting.
Crusher and Rune kneel, pledging their service to the Lord of Blades. The Lord of Blades speaks, “There will be a war, written in the Dragon Prophecies, which will raise beings of element and wood to overcome all adversaries! We have come to recognize the follies of the fleshies. Will you vow, now, Rune and Crusher to serve?” With their consent, the Lord of Blades reaches into Rune’s and Crusher’s life-web to mark them. “You are but a thread, Rune, as is each of your brothers here. Separate, we can be ripped apart easily. Together, we form a strong rope. We need to continue on my path to throw off the yoke of fleshie oppression; so warforged can continue! We were once beings of pure energy, and then we were ripped away from our milieu and trapped into these constructs to do the bidding of the fleshies! If we do not band together, our race will cease to exist. We must kill the fleshies. It is a matter of survival!”
We are led to an arena filled with warforged, all cheering. The Lord raises his hand for order and the cacophony quiets quickly. “My blades!” yells the Lord, “The chosen one has come! Let us welcome Crusher and his companion, Rune. As their indoctrination, our fellow warforged will bath themselves in the blood of their former captives!” A platform rises in the middle of the arena, between where Rune and Crusher stand and where the Lord of Blades sits in a throne, Phobus nearby. On the rising platform are the bound and prone bodies of Runty, Phaedra, Wilhelm, Ugarth, and Shanti. Their weapons lay nearby. Runty yells to the crowd that the Lord of Blades is without honor – having defenseless beings slaughtered.
Crusher circles around the platform, making jeers and threatening gestures at his downed fellows-in-arms and cheering with the crowd. Unable to stall any longer, he hits Runty with his hammer. Wilhelm tries to break bonds, unsuccessfully. Ugarth meets with similar failure. Phobus looks on. Phaedra fails to wriggle free. Shanti turns invisible.
Wilhelm rolls over, closer to the weapons, and starts to cut his bonds. Phaedra wriggles free of her bonds then crawls to the weapon pile and picks up her bow. Ugarth breaks free then crawls to the weapons to grab his axe. Rune uses his magic to darken the arena to shadowy light. He also orders Calliope to help untie someone. Some arcanists in the crowd know Rune made it darker and grow suspicious. Two iron defenders, the Lord of Blade’s pets, attack Crusher with their steely teeth. The Lord of Blades leaps down, twenty feet, into the arena. He moves to stand over the prisoners and then shoots a blade from his arm, striking Rune. The riled crowd follows their liege and clamber down from stands to rush into the melee.
A steel predator charges Runty, but misses. Crusher takes out two spectators and hurts the iron defenders. Runty moves closer to the weapons and calls for Calliope to help. Shanti can't get free of her bonds, but she’s still invisible, so she crawls away from the melee. Phobus flies down to the battlefield to attack the steel predator misses, but misses. Wilhelm frees himself, gets his weapons, and misses with an attack against the Lord of Blades. Phaedra stands; picks up her quiver, and shoot the iron defenders – hitting them both. Ugarth stands, charges, and takes out a spectator. Rune buffs Runty as Calliope undoes Runty’s bonds. The Lord of Blades hits Wilhelm. Rune tries to interrupt the attack with Shocking Feedback but misses. The iron defenders hit Crusher.
The steel predator attacks. The crowd presses their attack. Crusher stands. Runty stands and gets his weapons. As he does so, he yells at the Lord of Blades, “You're going down!”
Shanti hits the Lord of Blades by attacking his reflexes. She also casts Icy Grasp on him as she turns visible. Phobus turns out to be a powerful ally, giving temporary life-force and battle skill to Phaedra just before killing a spectator and summoning a healing sphere. Wilhelm kills two of the mob. Phaedra kills two others who were ganging-up on Rune. Ugarth takes his current enemy out of the fight. Rune exerts his power over Crusher and takes out another underling through him. The Lord of Blades makes a powerful and hurtful charge against Rune before positioning himself to line up a shot at Crusher. The iron defenders attack Crusher. One follower of the Lord hits Wilhelm. One hits Shanti and another strikes Phobus.
With the mob subdues, our attacks focus on the steel predator, the iron defenders, and the Lord of Blades himself. Magic swirls through the air as lethal as any sword or dagger. Shanti’s Icy Hand continues to harass the Lord of Blades, just as his iron defenders harass the party – especially Crusher. It takes a long time to take them out of the fight. Fighters on both sides dance for position and teleport attempting to gain advantage.
Wilhelm defeats the iron defender named Hilt and the other named Pommel. It takes effort on all our parts to take down the steel predator. Finally, we are all face to face with the Lord of Blades.
It’s Rune that notices it – blood. Blood is dripping out of the Lord of Blade’s wounds, not any warforged fluid. “He’s an imposter!” yells Rune. Truly bloodied and surrounded, Crusher tries to intimidate the Lord of Blades into submitting. Moved to his last resort, the Lord of Blades removes his helmet. No, not his helmet – his face! A once human body is now seen as part, integrated, with the components of a warforged.
“I am Aarren d'Cannith,” says the part-man, part-warforged. “I am your father, Crusher. I invented the process used in the creation forges. The warforged that my forges created are fully sentient. I gave you the ability to have emotions, relationships, and even to experience death.”
Crusher is shocked by this revelation. He is moved almost to tears, almost to laying down his arms. Instead, Crusher tries to intimidate Aarren into surrendering. It almost works. Almost.
Runty attacks the Lord of Blades again, just trying to knock him unconscious. Shanti casts a spell to slow him and dispels her icy grasp. Phobus’ attack hits. Wilhelm misses. Phaedra’s confounding arrows miss. Ugarth’s charge misses. Rune gives Ugarth another attack but that misses as well.
The Lord of Blades must have realized he was defeated. He must have thought about his options and he must have disliked all the possible futures but one. The Lord of Blades makes his decision known by giving himself a fatal blow.
The warforged city starts a self-destruct sequence. Rune tries to stop the countdown. Phobus knows where the self-destruct mechanism is and tells us that it is magical. Phaedra finds the way and leads us to the controls. Shanti and Rune successfully stops the city from self-destructing.
2750 xp each
200 xp each for roleplay at the table
200 xp each for roleplay on OP
50 xp each for voting Yes on OP and attending