The Feast of Valentinus aka The Red Feast
Genelen, 26th , 1014 YE
The Light-Bringers (PC)
- Lozan the Lioness
- Ivanova “The Black Arrow” Hastinov
- Vilhelmus “The Sea Wolf” Hastinov
- Oberron Bale-Eye
- Avery the Raven Knight
- Garrick Raven’s Shadow
The Light-Bringers (NPC)
- Mornya Morning Star, Spellblade
- Noelia Nightsong, Nightblade
- Robyn, Man-At-Arms
- Sparrow, Man-At-Arms
- Martin, Man-At-Arms
- Mock, Man-At-Arms
- Fred, Porter
The Light-Bringers (Animals)
- Tycho, Dwarven War Dog
- Huginn & Muninn, Avery & Garrick’s Familiar’s
- Titania & Puck, Ivanova Trained Owls
Rendevous at the Hastinov Estate
After spending six months scattered across the Known World pursuing specific goals, the Light-bringers returned to the Hastinov Estate. They had arrived in time to celebrate the Feast of Valentinus together. The celebration was grand as the party members regaled each other and the rest of the Hastinov clan with the tales of their travels. Everyone feasted, drank and danced as minstrels hired by the family played until both moons were high in the sky. During the feast it become clear to many that the family patriarch, Dmitry, was beginning to show signs of his advancing age. He forgot or confused people’s names, and at one point, the aging warrior called for his wife who had passed away several years ago.
After the Feast
After all of the guests had left, everyone retired to their beds to sleep off the copious amounts of wine that had been drunk. It was well after second moonfall when Ivanova was awakened by one of her owls. Getting out of bed, she looked around the villa and did not see anything amiss. However, when she went to look out over the courtyard, she saw a flying carpet swoop down out of the sky and deposit a squad of men dressed in black. She turned to alert the household when she saw ropes drop out of the atrium skylight and more men rappelled down to the ground floor.
Ivanova’s cry alerted many in the household, but the wine was still heavy upon them. A great melee ensued as the intruders beat and dragged everyone out of their beds, binding them. The Light-Bringers were able to eventually fight them off, killing several. As the skirmish continued, a tall dark man cloaked in black and wearing a lion’s mask watched the melee dispassionately.
After showing that he was still seasoned in combat by killing several of the assailants, Dmitry was trapped in the garden by a four-sided wall of force. Ivanova tried to attack the lion-masked man, but he wielded inhuman speed and strength. The Paladin was literally kicked out of the villa and landed in the courtyard. The rest of the party had killed off the remaining attackers and had gotten the rest of the Hastinovs to safety.
The Demon and the Lion
The party had gathered together in the courtyard to face off with the masked warrior. Ivanova was sure this man was named Leonious, once the leader of the Imperial Zodiac, formerly the emperor’s secret Praetorian Guard. They had been outlawed and supposedly wiped out over a decade ago. A deep booming voice stopped the fighting as another masked man cloaked in crimson floated into the courtyard.
The man was known as The Demon, but once upon a time he had been a mortal man named Brother Selya, a priest of Ammonar, and a member of Dmitry’s old adventuring group, the Crimson Blades. Decades ago he had absorbed the power of a demon that had possessed another Crimson Blade, Fidelias. The demon power had granted Selya unnatural power and life, which had corrupted him into a full demon as years went by.
The Demon and Leonious had come to the Hastinov Estate for two things- the map that Avery had stolen from Silar Silverhand and the scion of Ashlar, a fellow Crimson Blade, who had died during an assault on a Hill Giant Steading. Leonious had already taken the map from Avery and Garrick’s room.
The Demon tried to convince Dmitry to reveal to him the identity of a child he had hidden years ago. He revealed that for the last thirty years he had been secretly killing off the Immortals one by one. He had killed the Great Crone, The Prince, The Forge Father, The Lord of Horses and several lesser-known ones. He also revealed that it was he and not Dmitry who was responsible for killing Zartan Wave Thunder. There were only two immortals left- the Arch Lich and Liliana, the Queen of Thorns.
The Demon had found the means to strike down the Queen of Thorns; he needed a sacrifice who was a blood relative of the queen. However, all of her living progeny was safely guarded in her forest kingdom behind the powerful barrier known as the Thornwall. The Demon had discovered that Ashlar had been a member of Clan Camran and was also a scion of Liliana. When the Demon had discovered that Ashlar had fathered an illegitimate child with a gypsy woman, who had herself married an elf and had sired a child, he began hunting that child. His search had led him back to his old comrade Dmitry, who had been secretly hiding Ashlar’s grandchild for 20 years.
There Can Only Be One
Dmitry thought about this for a moment and looked at his family, who were outside of the cube of force. He turned to the Demon “After to taking a moment to consider what you have said, I can only tell you this Selya.” The old soldier stood straight and looked his old comrade in the eye. “Fuck You!”
Dmitry held his sword at the ready, standing tall and resembling the warrior he had been 40 years ago. The Demon revealed that he too had a sword of his own. The weapon was of an ancient design and the very air around it seemed to warp and wither. It was Avaritia, one of the seven swords of chaos. Ivanova could feel the power of chaos emitting from it, even through the walls of the magical barrier.
The two former comrades faced off against each other and for a moment all was still. The two then stepped towards each other. Dmitry’s skillfull hand swung his sword at the Demon but the Demon’s blade crashed down as well. Dmitry’s sword shattered into a hundred pieces as the sword of chaos magic tore through it with a howl.
The Demon than reversed his stroke with a flourish and drove it through Dmitry’s chest. Coughing up blood and looking at the sword he was impaled upon, Dmitry smiled at his enemy. “You get nothing.”
The Demon glared at Dmitry. “Death will not protect you,” he snarled as he pulled his sword out of the old man’s chest, intending to rip his ethereal soul out of his body. “I will tear your soul apart and I will find the child”. The Demon pulled forth a crystal orb and Dmitry’s soul was sucked into it. Vilhelmus and Ivanova screamed with grief and rage.
The Cat Who Walked Through Shadows
The black cat who had been quietly watching all of the events in the courtyard moved out of the shadows. As the Lightbringers beat fruitlessly at the cube of force screaming for Dmitry, the cat simply walked through the magical barrier. The Demon sensed its presence immediately.
The cat then surprised everyone when it spoke. “You know Selya, you were an insufferable ass when you were human and becoming a demon has done nothing to improve your disposition.”
“You have no authority here, Shadowcat,” hissed the Demon. “Dmitry is mine and you lack the power to stop me. Not without breaking the covenant. Go back to your shadows.”
“You are both right and wrong, you disgraced excuse for a priest. Under the rules of the covenant, gods may not directly interfere with the life of mortals and yes, you are quite powerful, especially wielding that sword. But you made two mistakes.”
“Your first mistake was killing Dmitry. Souls fall within my domain.”
The cat’s body began to blur and change, and once where a cat stood there was now a beautiful woman wearing a cloak that seemed to be made from the starry sky.
The woman, who had once been a mortal named Nazli and a former Crimson Blade, spoke with a hard edge. “Your second mistake was underestimating me, for I wield a weapon you have failed to account for.”
The Demon seemed both troubled and bemused. “This sword was forged to kill gods, what could you have that could compare, Shadowcat?”
The Shadowcat smiled wickedly. “I have a pissed-off dwarf with a grudge.” With a flourish of her silken cloak, an old battle-scarred dwarf appeared. He was Oberron Troll-Nose, father of Oberron Bale Eye, former Vault Lord of High Forge, Clan Lord of the Brass Bear Clan, and last surviving member of the Crimson Blades.
A ferocious bellow erupted from the Dwarf as he leveled a strange weapon at the Demon, which discharged a fiery cloud of smoke. “Take that, ya bastard!” Oberron laughed as the Demon howled in agony as his left arm was ripped asunder by the blast. The crystal ball with Dmitry’s soul was flung into the air, from which Shadowcat plucked it and disappeared in a blink. The Demon roared and charged towards the dwarf. Oberron turned his head and could see his son outside the Barrier.
Oberron bellowed to his son, “Ah love you boy, you does me proud and never forget it.” The old dwarf swung his weapon at the Demon once more. “Come on! Have at me!”
Avaritia sliced through the night air and sent forth a blurry wave of hell fire that incinerated the old dwarf, melting his armor and turning his body to ash. The wave of hell fire shattered the magical barrier, knocking everyone down and setting the villa ablaze. The Demon howled and disappeared in a shower of fireflies.
Ivanova and Vilhelmus scrambled over to their grandfather’s body. Ivanova cradled the old man in her arms and cried as Vilhelmus looked around to see where the enemy had gone. Oberron Bale-Eye crawled over to the pile of dust that had been his father, tears running from all three of his eyes. The sounds of people and shouting could be heard as people from all across the estate came to the villa to see what was happening. Avery and Garrick were clenching their fists, while Lozen looked on the scene with a stricken expression.
The Crimson Blades’ Final Bow
The party took Dmitry’s body and the remains of Oberron outside of the burning villa. The residents of the estate had come out and were doing their best to put out the fire before it consumed the entire villa. The elven brothers had dragged one of the dead assassins out of the villa; Avery and Garrick planned to get some answers. The party was in shock and grief. Their patron and the patriarch of the Hastinov family was dead. Oberron Bale-Eye was deep in dwarven grief as his sire was now gone, and hate entered his heart, hatred for the Demon.
As the sun began to peak above the horizon to the east, a shower of shooting stars could be seen in the pre-dawn sky. A shimmering curtain of stars appeared before the party and out stepped the Shadowcat with two ethereal forms in tow- the souls of Dmitry and Oberron Troll-Nose. Dmitry looked like he did when he had been a young and hale adventurer.
My children, my time here is short and there is much I have to say, so listen carefully. Twenty years ago my brother Borris came across a gypsy caravan that had been attacked; the only survivors were a mother and her baby. The mother was dying and begged Borris to save her daughter, who was the granddaughter to a legendary elven hero named Ashlar. Borris took one look at the red-headed, green-eyed child and knew this to be true. He would take that child and raise her as his own daughter. When my brother died, Lemunda and I took her as our own.
Ivanova, I knew Ashlar well, and I wanted to protect you, allow you to have a normal life. I knew there were people out there who want to use you for their own benefit, people like the Demon or the elven separatists. That is why I never told you who your blood family was. In my mind you are and always will be a Hastinov. Now that you know the truth, you will need to decide what path you will take. The Demon has not figured out who you are yet, but he will eventually. When he does he will come for you and you must be prepared.
Oberron III stepped forth and spoke to his son.
Boy, I meant what I said back there. Weep for me no more. I knew this day would come and I have been ready for it for many years. I ask that you be true to yourself and stand by Ivanova’s side. The Hastinovs and our family have a special bond, one forged in blood and iron.
Oberron III turned to Dmitry and winked. “There could only be one, and it was me, ha!” With that the old dwarf turned and walked back into the shimmering curtain and for a moment the party could see the deck of a ship at sea. The dwarf was greeted by a group on the ship: a male high elf, a female wood elf, and several humans- including a man wearing a crown.
Dmitry bid them all farewell and turned towards the shimmering curtain which parted for him. It revealed a field of golden grain with a villa off in the distance. Running towards Dmitry through the fields was a woman. Her golden hair shined in the sunlight. She was Lemunda, and she had been waiting for day that the man she loved would join her. As the curtain began to close they could see her leaping into Dmitry’s arms. Tears of joy filled both of their eyes as they embraced, finally at peace.
The Shadowcat turned towards the party.
The winds of fate are blowing with the strength of a gale now. May you find glory and success in the days and months to come, for you will be challenged like you have never been before.
The demi-goddess turned and disappeared, taking the night with her as the first rays of dawn swept over the estate. “Why, why, Great-Uncle?” Ivanova sobbed as she lay over Dmitry’s body. “Why did you not just tell me? Why did you let me hate you? I never knew…” As her words ended in more laments, Vilhelmus turned away bitterly. “I knew you would always be the death of him, Ivanova.” She looked up wordlessly at him, sorrow in her eyes. “I will always be a Hastinov, wherever my path leads me,” she said resolutely, and an understanding passed between them.
That same look resonated around the courtyard, as the Light-bringers realized that their lives would never be the same. Choices were going to have to be made, and not all of them would be easy. But they knew that after all their trials thus far, they would somehow find the strength to go on. For Dmitry, and for the Known World.