Dusk Riders of Chondath

Pt. 38 - Sad Return to Arrabar

Filled with a renewed sense of pride – in their nation, their King and themselves, The Dusk Riders departed the Duskholme and made their way towards Arrabar. The Riders wanted to avoid the main road so as not to attract Orcish search parties and instead made their way through the Chondalwood. Their path would have them go through some of the thickest sections of the Chondalwood, but given that King William had recently announced that as the Lords of the Chondalwood, it felt grand to see their new governance. The Riders were making a path that would allow them to exit between Mussum and Arrabar if they rode hard and avoided strife. To no one’s surprise, avoiding strife again proved to be folly.

The Riders discovered a foraging party of Goblins akin to the tribe they had previously fought during an earlier venture within the Chondalwood. The Goblins were numerous and also armed – one even riding the back of a Giant Deathjump Spider. The Goblins seemed preoccupied, so, sensing an advantage, the Riders rode into the Goblin horde to attack. The Riders engaged in combat with a variety of Goblins, Hex Hurlers, Spearmen and even some Cut Throats, but when matters ended, it was the Dusk Riders that stood proud. Following the attack, the Riders searched the Goblins extensively. Examining the remains of the Deathjump Spider, Mathis carefully extracted the poison from the Spider so that he could later provide to Nyria. With some newly acquired wealth in hand, the Dusk Riders continued their ride through the Chondalwood.

Upon exiting the Chondalwood, the normally verdant Chondathian countryside was instead scorched and filled with dead Chondathian soldiers. Signs of ferocious battle were everywhere and shockingly, the remains of the dead only seemed to be those that had been savagely dismember. For whatever reason, whole corpses seemed scarce despite plenty of evidence that hundreds, if not thousands, had met their end at this location. With grim resolve, The Riders continued their approach towards Arrabar. When the shining gem of Chondath was in sight, the Riders immediately saw the awful changes the city had suffered under Orcish rule.

No part of Arrabar seemed spared from the scars of battle. In fact, the city itself suffered pallor in some locations and a dreadful darkness in others. The Riders realized quickly too that the city wall was guarded by Orcish forces while the patrols marching the adjacent land were comprised of the undead. Further assessing what lay before them, the Dusk Riders noticed a black cloud surrounding the castle in the center of the city. While some sections still seemed smoldering from recent fire, the blackness that shrouded the Castle seemed rife with necromancy. Further legitimizing that theory was numerous winged monstrosities flying about above the city. With no other explanation for their existence, it appeared that somehow the Princess had lured forth demons from another plane.

The Dusk Riders remained frozen in place while processing the all too numerous manners in which Arrabar had been ravaged by Princess Leonare and Gurgan the Reaver. Still studying the area around the city, Baern noticed that the cemetery out near the main road that heads northward towards Mussum seemed to have a large open pit which was surrounded by a large number of footprints. While not at all certain of the source of those prints near the gaping hole, The Riders thought it best to wait until dark to enter the city so as to hide from the Orcish warriors. Only as the sun began to fall that it became obvious that even more forces of the dead would begin to rise.

With the moon large and strong in the sky, the graveyard quickly became filled with Ghouls while the dead that previously littered the fields around the city, now rose as zombies and began to mindlessly walk about. Worrying that their location would soon be discovered by either living or lifeless eyes, The Riders looked to find a breach in the wall, charge through and make their way into the city.

The Riders made haste towards a hole in the city’s wall that was near where they previous resided within the city. As the Riders rushed the gap, Zombies made their way towards them seeking to feed upon their living flesh. The Riders were able to outdistance some of the living dead, but others filled in and clogged their path forcing battle. After an extended exchange with the walking dead, four Gravehounds entered the fray and did their best to also tear into the Riders. Reinforced by the devout belief in their Gods, Baern and Mathis inspired the Riders to fight their best and readily defeat these necrotic monsters. As the Riders entered the city grounds, The Riders then noticed that the demons that were previously flying about the Castle were now flying over to investigate this disturbance.

Not quite ready to engage these monsters, The Riders ran to a door inside the city, but found it barred. Undeterred by barrier and motivated by the proximity of Demon, Baern, Horatio and Mathis worked together to break in the door and enter the building. But, to their dismay, upon entering the building, the Riders now found themselves face to face with a garrison of Orcs waiting out the night. Caught between two distinctly dilemmas, the Dusk Riders would have little time to consider options before being forced to defend themselves.

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Stichey

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