Wrath of the Righteous
The Fall of Kenebres
Clydwell Plaza is brimming with life and joy, which could only be a product of such a potent holiday as today: Armasse. This holiday, once a holy celebration of the god Aroden, has become merely a day to unwind and revel, as many holidays are apt to become with time and with the loss of their patron. Aroden, having vanished from existence nearly one hundred years ago, has left the holiday to be embraced by various other faiths, especially those with more desperate causes. And few causes are more desperate than that of the Faithful in Kenabres.
While most of the year is spent mourning the loss of companions, patching wounds both physical and psychological, and preparing for new, inevitable crusades into the Worldwound, Armasse stands out as a beacon of hope. Despite the hardships that have befallen such a crucial part of the border of the worldwound, Kenabres and it’s people are still capable of celebrating life and pushing aside their differences in a surge of camaraderie, which may be priceless in the battle against the forces of evil that will inevitably return in the coming weeks, or even days. This resurgence of the good-in-all is centered in the plaza just west of the St. Clydwell Cathedral, with the facade of the Cathedral as the backdrop.
The scene before you is a play of both religious ceremony and festival. A long stage stands beneath a great statue of St. Clydwell himself- a tall human, with clean kempt hair, longsword held forward as if issuing an order and shield held protectively beside it, his tabard frozen dramatically behind him. Upon the stage is arranged a podium, as well as many heavy wooden and metal chairs flaring outwards from the center. A multitude of robed and armored figures are seated in the chairs as if awaiting a speaker to take the podium. The sun is high in the sky, nearly noon now and there are few clouds. Birds chirp playfully about the plaza. It is still hot this late in the summer, common since the wound tore open Sarkonis and the heat seems to pour in from the west every day. Yet a cool wind blows in from the north, cutting the air and cooling the sweat collecting underneath clothes and armor. The trees about the district are just beginning to lose their brightest greens.
Rows of pews have been brought out and arranged facing the stage for onlookers to use. Countless people stand about in various states of dress- from formal and casual garb to fully armored and armed. Groups of crusaders with matching colors and symbols stand together in places. Off on the far northern side of the plaza a joust is being arranged. To the south there are food purveyors gathering and tests of skill being constructed.
To the west beyond the old estates of the oldest families in Kenabres can be seen the building that houses wardstone, the runed triangular prism that enforces the barrier that deters many would be demonic invaders.
A group of men and women dressed in dark colors lined with orange, wearing large brimmed hats and leather reinforced cloaks linger behind a concession stand and gesture furiously to each other – those of you who are familiar with Kenebres know that they are the Witch Hunters, inquisitors tasked with rooting out demonic influence in the city and they are not to be trifled with, be you a heretic or not.
In the center of the pews stands a tall striking figure. Long silver hair falls from his head clear to his waist and his eyes glow with the same, stunning pigment. His face is both pleasant and excited as it looks about and greets all incomers with pleasantry and grace. His long white and green robes cover him from broad, defined shoulders to pointed toe leather shoes. He is encouraging those he meets to take their seats. Armasse officially begins at noon and is always commenced with a speech from the Prelate. For now the crowd gathering is noisy with greetings and exclamations that twist otherwise grim stories into hopeful things.
After a few moments a hush comes over the crowd. A man takes the stage and strides towards the podium- resplendent orange trimmed armor, dark face, riddled with scars and wrinkles and short white hair. He stops and begins in a booming, clearly heard voice.
“This morning a great blow was dealt to the demons who violate the borders of Mendev,” declares Lord Hulrun, to the sound of cheers.
“Here, one hundred and twelve years after the opening of the world, Kenabres is still standing,” and more cheering ensues.
“Aponavicius’ forces are now preparing to lay siege to the capital. But as we know, we must prepare for a long war. As a border city, Kenabres–“ A booming explosion rends the air. Halved-in-Twain, Susannae, Kostner, Neva, Dusk, and the rest of the crowd look westward toward the sound. Where the city’s magical wardstone had once been now stands a gigantic pillar of blue fire and heavy, black smoke billows skyward.
“Prepare for battle!” Hulrun yells, his voice nearly drawing weapons from the holsters for any that wield them. The crowd, fills with cries of fear and valor alike, accompanying the ringing of blades sliding from their sheaths and shields and maces snapping from clasps.
As if tearing through the very fabric of reality itself, a rift slices through the air vertically, nearly fifty feet tall to the west of the plaza. A horned and hooved demon steps through the rift. Massive in size, with tall twisted horns reach nearly half the height of the rift. Its skull and body crackling with electricity, it wields a flaming whip and sword.
Someone calls out “It’s Khorramzadeh! The Storm King has returned!”
Below the huge demon, hundreds of smaller demons pour forth, shrieking and cackling with a wild, almost opposite inflection of terrified crowd. The demons, some bloated and rotting, others bone thin and quick, others still crawling along the ground like slugs, begin swarming into the surrounding city, many rushing at the crowd with a violent fervor. Many armed men and women step forward to engage them.
In the center of the plaza the tall silver colored man seen earlier is looking sternly up at the massive looming demon, whose whip has begun to lash out at the buildings and screaming citizenry, fire and debris spraying with each tremendous snap. The silver colored man suddenly leaps into the air, changing as he does almost instantly into a silver dragon, large enough to cast a shadow encompassing the facade of St. Clydwell Cathedral. The dragon spirals up and archs directly into the demon, the two forms clashing together mid flight as the demon jumps to meet the dragon.
The two forms exchange blows as they tumble through the sky, then they separate, circling around each other. The dragon lets loose cone of ice and snow that showers an entire estate, having slid harmlessly over it’s target. The demon responds by lashing it’s whip across the dragons body, drawing a thick, reddish metallic blood. The creatures collide again, but this time come crashing down towards the crowd, gliding no more than twenty feet above, but crashing headlong into the facade of the Cathedral.
Between the columns and partial walls that remain standing, the demon raises it’s sword and drives it down to where the dragon’s head and neck can be seen laying, barely moving to defend itself. More metallic blood sprays and the sword collides with the earth with a boom.
Dust and rocks shower down and a great cracking noise is heard. The ground shakes and from what is now the wreckage of the Cathedral tears a fissure that races out and envelops the crowd. As your characters fall, they see the outstretched arm of the silver dragon, which, with it’s final moment, flicks it’s clawed hand, shooting forth a translucent white bubble, which brings with it the sound of thousands of fluttering feathers. Then there is darkness and silence.