Greg Mann as Morik Martok
Vincent Pecoraro as Elosian Sylvres
Miguel Correa as Laurence Van Drake
Christine Scott as Aelanah Beastfriend
Danielle Callan as Rynee Windsong
Andrew Kilduff as Jaden Vale
Michael Graziano as Adon Thunderclaw
Paul Vilbig as Saleos Me’Serachte
Marc Greco as Mardak Fletcher
Tardiness was always Saleos’s problem. He was late for every important event in his life, so why should his invitation to Archbishop Van Drake’s banquet be any different. In Saleos’s defense, he couldn’t have ever imagined receiving such an invitation to begin with. After all, he had only just returned from a relatively minor escort mission, guarding an elven merchant from Sud Ilras as he brought his wares to be displayed at the Solstice festival in Drogynia. Someone must have put in a good word, though, because as soon as he checked in at the Order Barracks, a place that had definitely seen better days, he was told that he was invited to attend the banquet at the Temple of Draconius by the Archbishop himself.
Saleos opened the doors of the temple and noticed that the room was abuzz with activity. At first he thought to himself “hey, this is a lively shindig!” However, that was when he noticed the twenty-foot-tall archdemon attacking the Archbishop. Saleos wasted no time in drawing his weapons, and asking “What the hell is going on?!”
The battle with Kalbaeon ensued. Kalbaeon employed the use of slimes that flung themselves at her target’s face and absorbed into the victim through the eyes, nose, throat, and pores, wrapping around the brain, and giving Kalbaeon total control of that person. She could also, at will transfer her state of being from her current body into her “Slime Slave”, which she did to Roena in order to attempt her escape.
Morik went into the drainage tunnels after Roena, and as he gave chase, his possessed cousin began to hurl insults and magical attacks at him. He managed to avoid dying, and he knew better than to believe that her words were her own. Then, another person appeared from the opposite side of the drainage tunnel. It was a beautiful young woman with green hair and dazzling white robes, floating over the surface of the water as it danced in circles around her. Now that she was surrounded, Kalbaeon abandoned Roena’s body, taking over control of another of the people she attached face slimes to earlier. Roena fell limp, but as Morik checked on her, he felt a pulse and saw that she was breathing.
Morik was afraid that he was going to have to kill Roena in order to stop Kalbaeon, so he was relieved that his cousin’s body was abandoned for another host. However, a moment later, Roena awoke, clasping her face and screaming in pain. She struggled free of Morik’s grip and ran down the drainage tunnel, leaping from the exposed drain and into the reservoir below. Morik gave chase, and the green-haired girl followed after him.
Back within the temple, Kalbaeon’s “slime slaves” continued to wreak havoc, one of them suddenly grew immense and took the form of Kalbaeon. Jaden tried to defend Rynee from being attacked, but she, too, was struck by one of the slimes in the face. Saleos was pinned down behind an overturned buffet cart with Elosian. He asked Elosian what was going on, but Elo said he was busy talking to his demon friend through the palm of his hand, and he’d fill him in later. Saleos blinked several times before saying: “WHAT?!”
Elosian called out to Jaden, telling him to knock Rynee out and she wouldn’t be viable as a host body. Jaden said that was easier said than done, because at the moment Rynee was a slime slave and was fighting for the other side. Saleos fired an arrow up to a chandelier overhead and it fell next to Rynee, distracting her long enough for Jaden to smash Rynee over the back of the head, taking her out of the fight. Saleos then loosed another arrow into the side of the head of Kalbaeon, who turned her attention to him and spat another slime in his direction.
Laurence swung the Holy Flame of Greenmeadow in front of Saleos, slicing the slime in half and setting it ablaze in midair. He then held out the flaming blade and told Saleos and Aelanah to light their arrows in the holy fires emanating from the sword. They did so, and as their arrows found purchase in the slime slaves, the slimes shrieked and evacuated their bodies in pain. Laurence gave chase after Kalbaeon, but suddenly, the huge demon’s body changed back into the guard it once was, now dead from Saleos’s earlier arrow shot to the skull. Saleos was shocked, but the Archbishop told him not to fret, that it was not his fault, and to continue the fight.
Another guard suddenly started to run for the doors and out into the streets. Laurence and several others gave chase. As they exited the front of the temple, Laurence came across Morik, who told him that if he found Roena, it wasn’t Kalbaeon, so don’t kill her. He said that the demon did something to Roena’s face, which angered Laurence even more than he was before. Suddenly, the Temple of Draconius began to tremble and quake. Aelanah met up with Kaerysa and Morik, and the three of them circled around to the side of the temple, where Kalbaeon was using all her remaining power to try to level the temple itself. Archbishop Van Drake stood at the front of the temple and, calling upon all his holy powers, held the tall tower together and kept it from collapsing into the city and taking many lives.
Saleos and Jaden fought their way out of the temple just in time to help Morik, Aelanah, and Kaerysa defeat Kalbaeon. The temple was badly damaged, but it wasn’t destroyed. However, the body Kalbaeon had been using changed back into a human being shortly before she gasped her last breath. She had used all her powers in that last attack, so she was no longer a threat on this day, but the Archdemon Kalbaeon had succeeded in escaping Drogynia.
Laurence found Roena hiding in an alleyway, her eyes soaked with tears. She told him not to look at her. She was staring at her reflection in a pool of water on the ground. She said the demon threw acid on her face and now she wasn’t pretty anymore. She cried and said that nobody would like her anymore, that she was ugly, and that people would hate her. Laurence held her in his arms, comforted her, and told her that nothing in this world could make him hate her. He convinced her to let him look at her face, which she was still hesitant to do. He looked at her, and she was perfectly fine. However, when she looked at her reflection, she saw a hideous, deformed face where her beautiful young face once was. Laurence swore that he would find a way to help her, and convinced her to come back with him to the rest of the group.
Vikter was depleted by his attempt to keep the temple together, so he was being escorted to the Order Barracks nearby, where he would eventually have a temporary temple set up for services to resume while the Temple of Draconius underwent repairs. Jaden apologized to Rynee for knocking her out, but she thanked him for it. Vikter removed all trace of the slime from her system, so even though Kalbaeon wasn’t destroyed, she was no longer a threat to Rynee. Laurence asked if he could do something similar for Roena, explaining what happened to her, and that she was seeing something in her own reflection that did not exist in reality. Vikter turned his attention to Roena while Jaden and Rynee discussed their future options in private.
Saleos properly introduced himself to Elosian, who in turn explained the situation with the Pylean Restoration and Revenon. Unlike Laurence, Saleos seemed outright excited at the idea of bridging two worlds and forming alliances with Infernia’s “good guys.” Elosian explained that Laurence, as well as most other Materians, didn’t seem to believe there was a such thing as a good Infernian. Saleos said that he wasn’t ready to judge someone before he got to know them, and he didn’t see why Infernians should be any different. Elosian and Saleos became good friends from that day onward.
Morik learned that Aelanah and Kaerysa were sisters. He also learned that they had another sister, their triplet, Sarah. Finally, they revealed to Morik that they were the daughters of Boris Silverstem and Farah Gremioh, and the founding members of The Current. Aelanah asked Morik to keep that last fact to himself as much as he could. Kaerysa began to openly flirt with Morik, and Aelanah took the hint and let the two get to know one another.
Vikter was approached by a knight from the airship docks, who informed him that the visitors from Freel had arrived. He was just finishing the ritual to cleanse Roena of the remaining slime, and he told the knight to send for the guests and have them brought to the barracks, as the temple is, for the moment, not seeing visitors. Vikter explained to Laurence that Roena was scarred by her experience with Kalbaeon. Laurence said that he couldn’t see any scars, but Vikter said that some scars are carried on the inside. Roena was carrying emotional scars, and because of the magical nature of the slimes, she was able to see her emotional scars as if they were physical. For someone like Roena, for whom her beauty was such a major component of her identity, carrying such scars made her very fragile emotionally. He thought it would be best, for the moment, if Roena would remain with him in Drogynia, under his watchful eye.
Some Leave As Others Arrive
Vikter introduced Laurence and company to Feodor Chasteyne of the Sharpclaw Crusaders, a regiment of heroes from Freel, who had come in an effort to gain the cooperation of Drogynia in dealing with their own recent problems, a troll named Kajano with a familiar trait, a black crystal embedded in his forehead. Crossel decides to travel with Feodor to help the Weren out with their problem, and a Felite Monk named Adon Thunderclaw joined the Order in his stead.
Vikter presented Laurence with his own airship, which Laurence dubbed “Redeemer”. He also officially dubbed Laurence a Knight of Draconius from that moment onward, embracing Laurence’s decision to be an avenger, and telling him to go forth and avenge in the name of Draconius.
Hearing of a massive Orcish uprising in Quae Elfien that was spreading north to her home of Sud Ilras, Rynee Woodsong departed to “face the music”, deal with her betrothed, and aid in the defense of her nation. Jaden accompanied her, but informed Morik with confidence “We’ll see each other again soon, with these dark days behind us and big smiles on our faces.”
Laurence took the Redeemer on its first mission, back to the Cavern of Mamarus (Note from the future: This is still funny), where they discovered the caverns were completely gone, almost without a trace! Aelanah and Kaerysa managed to track down the cause of the cavern’s disappearance, an orge with a black crystal in its forehead, which they encountered along the northern coast of the Yonsal River, at the site of an ancient cemetery. Suddenly, the ground was disturbed by the scraping escape of the restless undead. The battle commenced, and as the heroes began to make progress, the shattered skeletons reanimated and merged into a chaotic bone monstrosity. This, too, the heroes defeated, and in the end, Elosian was able to pry the crystal from the ogre’s skull intact. Laurence decided it was appropriate to give Revenon access to the crystal, so Elosian passed it through the mouth on the palm of his gauntlet, which served as a miniature Hellryft and delivered to intact black crystal to Revenon for study.
The Order encountered Sarah Stormwarden at this time, the triplet sister of Aelanah and Kaerysa. She had come to investigate the destruction of Yonsalyre, and believes that the forces at work here, the Dark Lady and her demonic allies, are no longer interested in conquering Wyrmshadow, but are now devoted to destroying it altogether. Sarah shows them fragments of the same type of black crystal they just sent over to Revenon, which she found in the caves beneath Stonehaven. The volcano there has become active recently, and it strikes her as unnatural. She practically demands that they head to Stonehaven in an effort to discover why the volcano became active, and whether the Dark Lady or her forces are to blame.
Sarah is very frank, brutally honest, and anti-social. She does not get along with anyone particularly well, but takes an immediate dislike to Elosian, whose status as an Infernian renders him “taboo” in her mindset. Nobody is fond of Sarah, but perhaps largely due to her open disdain for Elosian, he finds himself marginally attracted to the woman, and he begins to attempt to get as close to her as possible. Saleos tells him that he’s a fool to think there’s a future to be had with a woman like that.
Sarah is an adept tracker and, like her sisters, has an uncanny knack for harnessing the power of nature. It seems that Sarah’s power focuses on manipulating the atmosphere and controlling weather. As the Order followed Sarah north, toward the coastline, they encountered Mardak, who informed them that he, too, was searching for answers about the disappearance of the Caverns of Mamarus (pppbbbttthahahaha). Sarah interrupted Laurence’s greeting of Mardak, which caused Laurence to tell her “That’s strike one. Don’t get to three.”
Sarah led the Order squad to an ancient graveyard on the coastline at the entrance of the river bisecting this area from the rest of the Prair Shirelands further north. They recognized the existence of a creature standing near the edge of the coast. It was an ogre with a black crystal embedded in its head. Elosian suddenly spoke with Revenon, gaining Sarah’s disgust and Laurence’s distrust. Saleos, however, listened intently, as he was fascinated with the idea that two people in different realms could communicate in such a fashion.
Elo explained that if they could get a sample of the crystal directly from the ogre, Revenon could study it and possibly inform them of the crystal’s purpose, origin, and maybe even who’s behind these shard-heads. Sarah forbids it, and Laurence wants to agree with her, but they don’t have time to discuss it now, because their friend the ogre has noticed the Order standing there, and he has begun using the head-crystal’s power to animate the corpses in the graveyard and create a veritable army of undead.
The Order is surrounded, and Revenon is still waiting for an answer…
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Chapter O-1: The Order in… On the Road to Yonsalyre
Chapter O-2: The Order in… Before It’s Too Late, Part 1 of 3
Chapter O-3: The Order in… Before It’s Too Late, Part 2 of 3
Chapter O-4: The Order in… Before It’s Too Late, Part 3 of 3
Chapter O-5: The Order in… Legacy of Glory, Part 1 of 2
Chapter O-6: The Order in… Legacy of Glory, Part 2 of 2
Chapter O-7: The Order in… Trials of Glory, Part 1 of 3
Chapter O-8: The Order in… Trials of Glory, Part 2 of 3
Chapter O-9: Order in… Trials of Glory, Part 3 of 3
Chapter O-10: The Order & The Current in… To Slay the Darkness
Chapter O-11: The Order & The Current in… To Save the Light
Chapter O-12: The Order in… Prophecies, Epiphanies, and Tragedies, Part 1 of 3
Chapter O-13: The Order in… Prophesies, Epiphanies, and Tragedies, Part 2 of 3
Chapter O-14: The Order in… Prophecies, Epiphanies, and Tragedies, Part 3 of 3
Chapter O-15: The Order in… The Horns of Agony
Chapter O-16: The Order in… Sailing Through the Maelstrom
Chapter O-17: The Order in… Shi Di Ma Under Siege
Chapter O-18: The Order in… “Against All Threats Great And Small…”
Chapter O-19: The Order in… “…We’ll Overcome And Never Fall.”
Chapter O-20: The Order in Hell