The Freeport Chronicles

The Fall of Everstand

A platoon of rangers works on battering down the reinforced front door to the tower, which Anton believes will not hold much longer. With Palomina taken care of and the onyx shard contained, the companions rush to the top of the tower. A viewing platform overlooks the city and surrounding territories, revealing chaos in 360 degrees. The orc horde has amassed outside the walls, a vanguard of orcs from underground fights through disorganized groups of guards toward the front gate. An army can be seen on the horizon to the south, presumed to be elven. And overhead, a chromatic blue dragon circles the city, fomenting anarchy and disorder.

Gauntwood, appearing dishevelled and unwell, stands in the centre of the tower. His mouth moves rapidly, but no words usher forth. The companions ignore him as they move to the side of the tower for a better vantage. Of note, it appears as if the majority of residents have successfully been evacuated; two groups of citizens, the followers of Groum as well as merchants from the market plaza, remain in the city.

Afraid that the remaining citizens will perish in the onslaught, the companions attempt to distract the dragon to provide time for escape. Lando messages the dragon to discuss terms of engagement for a one on one – champion vs champion – battle with Maydrane. The dragon banks sharply and blankets the top of the tower in electrical fire. The companions escape the worst of the attack, although Gauntwood was not as fortunate. With the dragon returning for a second run, the companions use magical means to travel to the grounds below.

Transported into the midst of the chaos, the companions quickly organize themselves – Magus Mike and Anton engage a group of orcs harassing the remaining Everstand citizens; and Lando and Maydrane sprint across the plaza toward the towers that house the mechanisms that open the main gate.

The orc contingent within the city is made up of the remnants of the orc vanguard that gained entry through the cyrpts as well as their newly freed compatriots from the city’s jail. It proves a difficult task to convince the blood-thirsty orcs not to murder the remaining citizens; however, cooler heads prevail, with Magus Mike and Anton successfully persuading the orcs to herd the innocent townsfolk into the Iron Tower for later judgement. The citizens saved, the two set off to assist in opening the gate.

With Maydrane leading the way, Lando and the Mistress of Blades cleave their way across the open ramparts of the merchant district toward the gate. The door to the first tower is unlocked, allowing for easy entry. Inside, Maydrane quickly disposes of the guards while Lando operates the gate mechanism. One half completed, Lando and Maydrane make for the second tower to finish the task of opening the gate.

The companions reunite as they cross the plaza. The doorway to the second tower is locked; instead of taking the time necessary to batter the door, they ascend to the top of the tower with the help of Magus Mike, who was able to fly to the top and drop a rope. Gaining entry through a rooftop hatch, a well placed fireball allows the companions to swiftly take control of the tower. The second gate mechanism is engaged.

Exiting the tower, the companions are ambushed by a squadron of rangers. Arrows rain down on the companions, an effective tactic given the wide open nature of the inner courtyard. Circling above, the dragon senses the companions’ vulnerability and flies over the plaza, carpeting the courtyard in electrical fire. The group is left reeling from the attacks, pinned down and unable to counter.

Rising to the occasion, Maydrane charges through the ranger contingent, creating an opening for the other companions to exit, but taking heavy damage in the process. As the group escapes from the ring of assailants, a second blanket of electrical fire explodes across the courtyard, injuring the companions as well as the ranger squadron. In the ensuing bedlam, the child, Nemesis, becomes separated from the group. Hearing the panic in Anton’s voice, Maydrane doubles back to look for him while the rest of the group flees to the safety of an adjacent building regroup.

With the gate open, the orc horde streams into the city of Everstand victorious. The remaining city guard and ranger contingent flee to the crypts in hopes of circumventing certain death and finding a way out of the city. The dragon follows suit, pursuing the escaping citizenry away from the city. An unsettling calm descends over Everstand.

The companions exit the building to locate Maydrane and the lost child. Amidst the rubble strewn plaza, within a ring of ranger bodies several deep, the body of Maydrane is found. The Mistress of Blades stands motionless, her inert body is held up by several spears and pikes protruding from her, allowing her to maintain an intimating pose even in death. She is positioned protectively over the child.

Rushing to the still form, the companions are elated to learn that the child still lives. Encased in a protective cocoon infested with dark onyx energy, the child appears to have survived the worst of the battle thanks to Maydrane. Anton lovingly hoists the child over his shoulder as the other companions attend to Maydrane. As is the custom with the Hellknights, she is laid upon the war sanctified ground with her weapon in hand to make the journey to the afterlife along with the souls of her victims. Unable to find the words, the group leave small personal tokens next to her body to acknowledge the sacrifice she made.

The need to leave Everstand is strong; however, the companions must complete one more task before exiting the city. The group return to the Iron Tower where Anton performs the ritual learned from Besmara. The tower reverts to its original design as a card within the Deck of Many Things. The remaining citizens safe inside, the card is pocketed by Anton as the companions make their way to the river to make their escape aboard the Bloody Vengeance.

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