Mythodea / The Forgotten Abbey
With this information, Sir Dagger of Blackwood traveled to Zweiwasser to speak with the Margrave Balor the Red to get his thoughts on the subject. While there, Tovak, a renowned scholar, arrived to deliver his accounts of what had happened on that same expedition. The Margrave decided to gather a force from within the Realm of Roses and travel South to explore the region further. With that, Sir Dagger gathered who he could form among those available from East Blackwood and journeyed South with Zweiwasser and their allies. Members of the Court of Roses and Thorns also embarked on the mission and therefor would have the overall command of the Realm's expeditionary force. Raul Mazhak an Oshead, Manca'Quar; Fenrik von Frostwacht, Emissär des Hofs; Heinrich von Buntfeste, Reichsedler were those present from the Court. Abu Saif ibn Dun served as General.
Once inside, the gate to the Abbey was closed with the Blutpackt warriors staying behind to man it. This only served to slow the advance of the Forsaken as they manage to batter down the gate and push their way in. The Blutpackt sustained heavy casualties in the subsequent push and began a fighting withdrawal to a second bridge over an inner moat. At first glance this bridge appeared to be the only way to the inner Abbey and thus the rest of the Expeditionary Force aided the Blutpackt in holding that bridge; however, this meant that Skargen and Undead Flesh were able to take the outer wall and gatehouse for their own which resulted in a siege of the Abbey from within the Abbey's outer defenses. For reasons unclear at the time, the Forsaken were not able to cross over the bridge entirely in spite of having the numbers to do so.
Once the combat situation had calmed, East Blackwood took the first watch at the Bridge and were eventually relieved by Margrave Balor the Red and his Drachengarde. General Abu assumed command of the fighting force gathered by the Realm of Roses, including East Blackwood while Shila of Zackenberg took over leadership of the scouts and Fenrik von Frostwacht assumed leadership of the knowledge seekers. Both the scouts and the knowledge seekers who would learn as much as they could from the Abbey, most importantly, why the Forsaken had wanted to take it in the first place. From East Blackwood, Bødwar and Antares aided both the scouts and knowledge seekers.
The Abbey was resided in by a group of brothers and sisters, as they called themselves, under the guidance of an Abbot. The Abbey also played host to a book binder and a team of cooks and caretakers. The residents of the Abbey offered the expedition shelter and were sure that it would be safe within the inner grounds.
The Inquisition and the People of the Abbey
The brothers and sisters of the Abbey often bore scars such as blinding, burns and so on. They were friendly and welcoming to an extent but they did not speak openly about their religion or purpose which drew the suspicions of the expedition. The knowledge seekers spent much time speaking with and questioning the Abbot, brothers and sisters. Some letters were found throughout the Abbey which also aided in uncovering their story. Later it became apparent that not only were they unwilling to say too much about themselves but they in fact could not remember everything as if something had removed those memories. It was learned throughout the first days of the expedition that the majority of the people of the Abbey were in fact prisoners of an "Inquisition" who were sentenced to a life of repentance.
Important questions remained such as, who were the others who lived there, namely the Book Binder, and who were the Inquisition and where were they. The people of the Abbey professed that the Inquisition had not been there for years but it was believed that perhaps the expedition was expected to be The Inquisition. The book binder himself explained his purpose of being at the Abbey was to leave his old life behind. In his room were many books including bestiaries containing creatures that did not exist in Mythodea and a book that explained the identity of the book binder. He had been the Weapons Master of The Inquisition and had been imprisoned there for knowing too much. When questioned further, the book binder declined to comment.
The expedition searched for information concerning The Inquisition. Not much was learned but, The Inquisition is reported to have existed for as long as anyone can remember. They believe they act as the institution that "Keeps the Balance" and have various rules.
Rules of The Inquisition via Oral History:
Hands off Witchcraft
All Magic is Bad
If magic must be used then magic should be taken form one's self
A Connection to the Ancient Rulers
A recovered letter or journal of a "traveler" detailed things the traveler wished to remember. This traveler described fleeing the Inquisition and a desire to meet those who had fled North long before. It was hypothesized that those who fled before were perhaps the Ancient Rulers of Mythodea and that the traveler had also been a mage of similar power suggesting that prehaps those imprisioned in the Abbey were also mages of similar power to that of the Ancient Rulers.
Failing of the Abbey Wards
By the second day, the protections of the Abbey began to fail. It had been learned that runes around the Abbey's outer defenses were at least partially responsible for the barrier that defended it and these were found to have been tampered with over night by the Skargen. The Abbot was questioned on how to repair the runes but he confessed that he did not remember. He remembered having written instructions in a book which should have been in the Abbey's library but that was nowhere to be found. And thus, a search for that book and or the means to repair the barrier commenced.
The book was likely never found but the Blutpackt managed to uncover the instructions for a ritual which could repair and or construct new wards. The instructions that were found explained that they existed in the instance that the Inquisition was not present to do it themselves. The ritual could only be performed at the Witching Hour and the rune needed to be painted in blood. The ritual was performed but there were not enough ward components to repair all of the damages which later led to the wards being breached on the final day of the expedition.
Anti Magic Field
As those with magical abilities or
magic oriented existences entered the Abbey, they felt strange as if
their magic was being hindered in some way. After finding an alter
in the catacombs beneath the Abbey, a rune was discovered there. The
same rune was on necklaces around the necks of the brothers and
sisters of the Abbey. Later, information on a rune that could block
and or hinder magic was found among the scrolls of the Abby but it
did not become apparent that the rune on the altar and around the
necks of those living there was indeed that same rune.
After a time, knowledge seekers from
the expedition noticed that some of the runes on the necklaces were
different than they had been and those wearing them seemed to feel
better than they had before. Those wearing other runes started to
remember things that they had forgotten. This in conjunction with
another scrolls which pictured various runes helped form the theory
that the rune on the alter was indeed the one dampening magic and
likely also harming the memory of those who wore them around their necks.
A letter was found that connected the strange happenings with the changing of the runes with a person most called simply "The Traveler." This culminated in the near failing of the overall anti-magic field on the last day of the expedition which resulted in the temporary restoration of the Abbot, brothers and sisters of the Abbey.
Rika of the Drachengarde saves Sir Dagger of Blackwood's Life
a battle the expeditionary forces lost, a member of Zweiwasser's Drachengarde, Rika, saved Sir Dagger of Blackwood's life while Forsaken forces attempted to kill the wounded ambassador. The soldier of the Drachengarde actively parried all incoming blows that would have otherwise ended the life of Sir Dagger until such a time as the Knight of Blackwood could be removed to safety. Later on
after Dagger had been tended to and was well on his way to recovery,
he came across Margrave Balor speaking with Rika about her exploits
thus far. To add to this, Sir Dagger praised her for saving his life
earlier on in the day.
The Forsaken Involvement
The question of what the Forsaken wanted with the Abbey was at least partially answered when scouts overheard a conversation between Undead Flesh soldiers. As reported, the conversation detailed a plan to have "one" of the "Abbeys" be the new home of the Bone Queen. Hindering any action of the Forsaken has typically been a prefered strategy of the Settler's of Mythodea but the idea that the Undead Flesh would want to move the Bone Queen's home away from Mythodea was and interesting one to say the least as it opened up many more questions than it answered.
the end of the last day of the expedition South beyond the ice wall,
the Undead Flesh broke into the tunnels beneath the Abbey. In
response, General Abu sent all available forces with the exclusion
of Zweiwasser, into the tunnels but the tunnels were too narrow to
fight effectively with those numbers. Meanwhile, the Skargen war-band,
who had had the Abbey under siege for the past several days, attacked
the bridge over the inner moat. The Zweiwasser troops stationed there
called for aid but none was sent. Soon the Zweiwasser force,
including some of East Blackwood, were overwhelmed and pushed back. Antonius of Zackenberg stayed in the tunnels and fighting there and sent all available soldiers back out to aid in the courtyard against the Skargen.
Zweiwasser took heavy casualties before the excess of troops, who had
previously been in the tunnels, made their way back to the courtyard to
combat the new threat.
The overall battle devolved into a bloody mess with the expeditionary force only just barely claiming victory. A heavily wounded Sir Varek was leading the Zweiwasser force at that time and he became furious with the leadership of the expedition. He stated that they were responsible for Zweiwasser nearly dying in the fight as they either refused to aid and or managed their available forces too poorly to do so effectively. The Realm of Roses Leadership apologized for the "mistake" and said it would not happen again. Sir Dagger, also heavily injured in the fighting, pushed himself up to speak stating, "mistakes have been made which could have cost many lives yet a decision was made. It is better that a bad decision is made rather than no decision even if it was the wrong one. I trust that the events of today will be learned from and we can come together in the future to fight for common goals against the Forsaken."
The expedition left early the next morning to return to Mythodea after a brief rest at the camp that Margrave Balor the Red of Zweiwasser had set up two days prior. They left with more questions than answers and a gloomy outlook for the future. Yet in all of the struggle, a light at the end of the tunnel could be seen. Adalbert from Siegelstadt had acquired valuable information that could help aid Mythodea's recovery. How effective this information will be utilized remains to be seen.