Library of Howling

4.Church of the Bandit

Billhook, Moonchaser, and Red Earth take horses back to Red Fern along with Switches Way. They hear about Marble Riches’ following of the farmer and run-ins with Captain Bear’s Rage. The Party and Guards go check out the cave and find nothing. The Party tells Bear about the farmer, who has him brought to the guard shack upon their return to Red Fern. He has no new info, but Marble is able to interrogate him via Exorcism and finds out about a church up north.

The Party informs Bear of their findings, including the use of magic by the Master. Bear seemed agitated when he had to send Cougar to give a message to Feral, who is Lord Lion’s Pride head Justicar.

After collecting Eagle Fiercely Watches, the group headed out together to find the church. The Group stopped to ask a farmer along the way about the path and was pointed in the right direction. Eagle and Bill led the way, tracking the path to the church.

The Group saw some smoke and dismounted, leaving the horses. They snuck up to the church which seemed to be inhabited, but with no one outside. Bear kicked open the door, and the party charged inside to find a lone monk. The monk was interrogated and finally admitted to harboring bandits in a hidden basement. About that time, Red noticed two bandits with bows hiding behind bushes outside the church. Eagle got in an archery fight with the bandits and was injured as the monk finally opened the secret entrance to the basement after the guards turned up nothing in their search. Bill charged outside and skewered one of the injured bandits while a second bandit fled in the opposite direction.

After finishing the first injured bandit, Bill had to sprint after the second one who was wounded and left a blood trail, but was still moving. Bill initially passed him up, but returned to find him hiding in a hollowed out tree and there struck him dead with a spear thrust. Bill then began a more guarded pace to scout for anyone else around and returned to the church.

Inside the church, Switches used some healing magic to heal Eagle’s arrow wounds while Marble, Eagle, and Switches all waited near the front door for Bill. Red and Bear descend down into the hidden catacombs after throwing a torch down while the guards, Moon, and the monk wait upstairs. Red performs some detection magic and manages to feel some movement in the earth in a certain direction, but is required to cast it again in the room before discovering a bricked up doorway leading off of the room.

Moon, one of the guards, and the monk all descended down to join Red and Bear, and Red decided to simply knock down the stacked bricks revealing the hidden chamber. Moon joined him up near the entrance only to find both of them dodging arrows. One plunked into Moon’s shield while Red avoided another. Glancing into the room revealed a number of men grouped up at the far end, some with bows and some with melee weapons.

Moon decided to charge into the right flank of the group knocking one to the ground and engaging another. A short fight occurred in which all but one of the men were killed by such means as Red throwing boulders into them and Bear and Moon chopping their way through them. In the middle of the fight, Bill and Eagle arrived, and Eagle managed to contribute an arrow or two to the affair.

Finishing off this group of six men, another chamber behind them was revealed to contain four more men of better armor and weapon quality than the other bandits the party has encountered, as well as two more bandits on each flank in front of their leaders. Moon also managed to spot a creature behind the bandit to the far left as he demands their surrender in his most forceful tone. This caused the two lesser bandits to break, and they dropped prone, letting their weapons fall away. As the group formed a battle line in the room and prepared to face those who wouldn’t break, more creatures were spotted behind two more of the bandits. Suddenly Bear’s guard who came down into the room began to seizure, and Bear and Moon were both hit with magical psionic attacks causing them to stagger.

With their front lines under attack, Bill had to act quickly and grabbed the Guard having a seizure and threw him into the middle-right bandit while he attacked the far right bandit on the bandit’s left flank. The guard crashed into the bandit staggering him while Bill did a hard spear thrust into the shoulder of the far bandit, crumpling him down to the ground. As he fell, the bandit managed to fall into the creature behind him, taking him off of his feet as well.

Moon charged into the fray on the bandit’s right flank while Eagle moved up and put an arrow through the throat of the mid-left bandit. As the fray picks up, another of the dog-looking creatures manages to psionically wound Moon again and Red is forced to toss a boulder into the hand of Bear’s guard who, under the control of one of the dog creatures, tried to attack Bill.

Bill’s side of the fight became a bloodbath as he skewered the dog creature on his side, caving in his face. Moon was able to destroy the dog creature on his side of the fight as well and soon all of the creatures were killed, and the mid-right bandit threw down his arms and surrendered to the party.

Collecting the three living bandits and all of the loot obtained from the dog creatures and other bandits, the party retired back to the church main area where they questioned the bandits and attempted to ascertain the qualities of the magical devices the dog creatures were using on them. The lead bandit revealed that the dog creatures, while being higher on the chain of command, were NOT the leaders of the bandit incursions. The bandit threat remained.

Recovered from the dog creatures were a magical skull, a pendant, a charm bracelet and a sort of halberd head weapon ( Motrisvaul) all with magical writings on them that Red can somewhat read, though he says nothing to the group.