The next morning the heroes awoke, aside from Myrka who was still passed out on the table in the thieves’ dining room, from the adventurous night before with Nalia. Yukiko promptly zapped Myrka with a touch of her healing magic saying, “there that should be enough to invigorate you, so you can function today”. More thieves filed in to get their morning breakfast that Darr had managed to cook just before everyone woke. While the heroes were eating contemplating on who the mysterious, but familiar bandit voice belonged to in Myrka’s night time travel, a bandit messenger burst through the door with haste looking a bit haggard and extremely distressed. Rushing over to the table where the heroes were seated he began to explain his haste. “There is a mob forming just outside the temple district on the other side of Ferron. Dodd instructed me to inform you at once if anything suspicious happened and so i came as fast as i was able.” The heroes inquired as to why a mob was forming and so the messenger explained, “The villagers are fed up with all that has been happening in Ferron and have decided to place the blame on the Raven Queen and her followers.” Leon asked, “How long did it take you to reach us?” and the messenger replied “I came across town as fast as I could, so probably about 20 minutes, why?” Leon answered more to the rest of the party than to the messenger, “They will have a 40 minute head start, we must hurry if we are to catch them in time.” The heroes thanked the messenger and immediately embarked to see if they could intervene before things escalated out of hand.
Upon arriving on the scene the heroes knew that they would not be able to just simply traverse the woods to find the altar of the Raven Queen, for it was hidden well within the forest. Leon suggested fetching a wizard, but the party knew there would not be enough time even if a wizard were able to transport them to the altar. At that point Leon noticed a dead tree just a way into the woods. Moving closer the group inspected it, and noticed there were carvings of birds etched into the trunk. After squabbling on the meaning for a minute Myrka noticed a particular bird etching looked like a raven and seemed to be pointing in a direction the others were not. The heroes decided to follow the sign and hope they did not misread it. It wasn’t long before they stumbled on to another tree, dead like the first, but instead of carvings, all its limbs seemed to be pointing in one direction. Taking this as the second sign, since all other trees around it seemed to be healthy, they pushed onwards. Not much longer they came across yet another dead tree, shaped in the form of a flying bird, pointing northwest. It was clear that this was the trail to follow and so the heroes advanced with much more haste.
Without much time passing they soon came to and stopped at the edge of a clearing somehow evading the glances of all who were in it. Peering out the companions saw what appeared to be a large bird made of tile work at the top of this clearing and surrounding it dead grass shaped in the form of a raven with the tail made of stone touching the back end of the clearing and the head of the bird also made of stone looking out in to a valley below. Inside the tile-work they saw a man hunched over a figure crying and a warrior beside him. Further down the way there were a dozen other warriors appearing to guard the Raven Queen altar at the base of the valley. Without uttering a word, the heroes started branching of into their formation Myrka leading the way with Yukiko not too far behind her. Leon and his faithful wolf Cuddles sticking to the shadows to continue to survey further, while Barthus stay back readying his horn. Myrka approached the two men at the altar and without hesitation the warrior standing beside the hunched over man, stepped forward as if guarding him and the figure that lay on the floor. The warrior shouted, “Halt, who are you?” Before Myrka could reply Yukiko stepped forward answering the man, “We are friends, here to warn you that a mob is headed this way.” “We know” said the warrior, “and I am afraid we may all be doomed.” Myrka and Yukiko asked in unison as they continued to approach the two, “why?” At that point the man hunched over the broken figure stood up and spoke. “This man, who lies here dead, was the only one who was able to communicate with our deity the Raven Queen.” While Yukiko was listening intently, Myrka noticed some small tiles with etching on them. She managed to pick them up without the warrior or the robed man’s knowing. The man continued, “He was teaching me the words and the order in which the tiles went in, in order to summon the Raven Queen, or an avatar of her, rather.” Myrka having as much subtlety as her great axe interrupted, “oh, you mean these tiles?” offering the small tiles she had just procured. The robed man astonished that he hadn’t noticed her pick them up answered, “Why yes… Do you see that stone bird head over there?” “They fit in there in a specific order, and as I stated early, only this man here knew the order”
Before they could advance on the stone head to try and decipher the puzzle a voice appeared seemingly out of thin air. “Come out Leon, I know you are there” the voice bellowed. Leon taken aback by the call of his name remained in the shadows searching for this newcomer, but to no avail. “You should have raced me Leon, why don’t you come out where I can see you; I know you’re here somewhere” Myrka spotting a figure in a tree rushed over to knock it down. The figure being spotted looked down at Myrka advancing and said, “Oh you’ll have to do better than that” and swung around to the other side of the tree, but never appearing on the other end. Laughter erupted, but from a different location, “Come out Leon, come and race.” Leon still not knowing what this man meant stepped out of the shadows in hopes that it would flush out this stranger. Stepping out of the shadows he startled the guards that were guarding the base of the valley that led to the altar. “There you are Leon, I have been looking for you” said the voice. Searching this time, Leon managed to locate where the voice was coming from and saw a pale man, with flaming red hair. The man finished his swing to reappear in a different tree than where he first was. Pointing at the dead man on the ground, he yelled out at Leon, “this is why you should have raced me” laughing all the while. Before any of the companions could act he dropped backwards off the tree and before he hit the ground he vanished.
Taking it all in, Leon finally remembered that this man had asked to race Leon in Ferron after he had just beat a man in a race using a fey step to win. Leon got pulled away by his party before he could take the man up on his offer to maybe earn some extra coin. Pulled back to the present the guard standing beside the robed man said, “Well I don’t know who that man was, but it appears that he may have doomed us all. The mob is coming now, and the man who lies here is the only capable of summoning the Raven Queen.” With a brief pause he continued, “ I shall take my place by my men, if you are willing to help, we could use the hands.” and he strolled over to his men to take up arms and defend the altar to the bitter end.
The party decided to aid them as best they could and figure out the puzzle to the tiles while Leon took up a position further down the valley to prepare for the oncoming assault. Myrka and Yukiko hurriedly pushed pieces of tile into slots on the back of the raven head statue overlooking the valley, but nothing happened. Deciding they had pieced the puzzle together wrong they took out the pieces and were preparing to place them back in when the mob showed up.
Both Myrka and Yukiko looking over the valley saw the horde first, rushing up the valley in a frenzy. From what they could discern, behind the mob there appeared to be more harden warriors that didn’t look like civilians with clubs and pitchforks, but capable adversaries. Knowing that time was short they continued to work on putting the pieces together as quickly as they could.
Leon hiding in the shadows watched as a horde of people rushed by battering the Raven Queen warriors who guarded the entrance, and further behind more formidable warriors passed as well. These warriors seemed to be from the Cult of Being. This grouped seemed to be the ones that had riled the citizen up. Carefully looking, Leon spotted a cleric among the more seasoned warriors and grinned… He had found his first victim.
Myrka left Yukiko to solve the riddle while she took her place by the guards. As the mob struck, a few of the Raven Queen soldiers faltered and were trampled in the onslaught. Myrka stepped in the place where a soldier had fallen and used her fist to stop a mob member in his tracks. He crumpled to the floor unconscious, but alive.
Leon realizing that it would only be him and his faithful wolf companion engaging on half a dozen men, as a result of the mob separating him from his party he stuck to the shadows and advanced in on the cleric. He charged forward striking the cleric taking him by surprise making him stumble back, his wolf taking his flank to prevent retaliation from the cleric’s warrior ally to Leon’s left. Most of the cult of being soldiers absorbed in battle charged forward urging the mob to continue the assault, however an archer noticed Leon and a very large wolf attacking his cleric friend and decided this was something he could not accept. The archer took a few paces back placing his back to a tree to ensure he was a safe distance and shot an arrow at the wolf, as he was the best target… The cleric realizing he was under attack shifted back a step and tried to assault the wolf, but only found Leon’s sword as he struck at the beast.
Yukiko oblivious to her surroundings and the battle raging on below her rearranged the puzzle, but again to no avail. Frustrated she took out the pieces and thought it out looking at each picture on the tile and scanning for clues hoping that it would come to her soon, or they may be over run by a mob.
Barthus, trying to assist Myrka in wading through the mob to get to the cult of being put his trumpet to his lips, hoping to allure a warrior close enough for Myrka to pummel, played a sweet melody, but only found that he was playing music which had no magical effect. Again the wave pushed forward crushing more of the Raven Queen soldiers in their madness.
Leon still grinning with the thrill of battle ringing in his ears pressed the assault harder onto the cleric, striking him three times with lightning speed, and then decapitating him with the fourth.
Another archer noticed the commotions behind him and turned to see his healer impaled and then decapitated. The archer moved back and took a shot a Leon, but shot too hastily and the arrow flew high.
Myrka trying to press forward, but only to find another member of the horde in her way. Annoyed she tried to persuade him to move with her fist as she had the first guy, but he was a bit more sturdy than the last and still stood after she had delivered her crushing blow. Barthus still readjusting his horn could do very little to help.
Yukiko frustrated beyond belief managed to keep her cool and rearranged the puzzle on the ground to where she thought she had the proper order. Hoping that she had solved the riddle she placed each piece of the puzzle into the slots and prayed that it would work, otherwise the line of defense wouldn’t hold out long enough for her to rearrange them again. As she inserted the last piece, the tiles began to glow and a loud flapping noise began to reverberate throughout the valley. Down from the sky came an aspect of the Raven Queen wearing dark robes. The aspect reached out, her robes beginning to grow in length, stretching over the valley and slowly began to transform into hundreds of ravens, flocking towards the mob. The frenzied mob witnessing a divine act quickly lost their bloodlust retreating through the valley the way they had came, leaving the cult of being soldiers to fight this battle themselves. After the mob had vanished the Raven Queen dissipated leaving behind only a trace of her presence in the form of three feathers. Yukiko feeling accomplished that she had managed to solved the puzzle joined the rest of her companions down in the valley to aid in the raging battle that still ensued.
A warrior wielding the traditional sword and board shaken by the act of a god, but still able to fight, noticed his archers movements directed behind him and turned around to see Leon to his right and an enormous wolf the size of a bear directly in front of him. The soldier noticed his ally, the cleric’s body lay in a bloody heap and his head lay some feet away. Turning to Leon he yelled, “What god do you worship?” Leon having dealt with several cult of being previously knowing that giving that information could affect his fighting prowess replied, “I’ll whisper it to you over your corpse.” Enraging the warrior he rushed forward at Leon swinging his sword knowing that he would strike true, but at the last second Leon’s armor had a feint glow, and a moment later the soldier found his own sword in his leg. Leon, looking back at him, grinned and whispered to him, “look behind you” before vanishing from the warriors view with his wolf companion.
Hoping that his words would buy him enough time to deal with one the pesky archer Leon fey stepped away from the warrior and appeared in front of the archer Cuddles, his wolf companion fey stepping with him to cut off the archers escape. Startling the archer Leon sliced through his armor with ease, but not enough to deal a mortal blow.
The second archer, positioned with his back to the mob turned around now realizing his location was unsafe now that the mob had fled, saw Yukiko entering the fray and began to ready a shot. At that moment Myrka with blinding speed rushed before the archer now that the mob was no longer obscuring her path, taking the shot intended for Yukiko and pummeled the archer in return, crippling him severely with her mighty axe.
Barthus finally finished readjusting his horn looked up to see the horde dispersing and Myrka charge a soldier taking an arrow to the knee, but pressing forward to strike the archer. Deciding now he was ready to help, he again put his horn to his lips and aimed at the archer that Myrka was attacking. Playing harsh notes on his horn the magical tune carried over to the warrior and drove him mad killing him on the spot.
Leon finished up the archer with a few devastating, but precise sword slices, laughing at how the archer thought he was safe cornering himself at that distance, not knowing that Leon could travel that far in the blink of an eye. Turning around, Leon watched as Myrka rushed an archer trampling him with her great axe and Barthus finishing him off. Further to his left, the warrior that Leon told to “look behind him” turn around and watch his friend the archer die.
On the other side of the valley one of the cult of being warriors noticed that this fight would not turn out in his favor, so he turned to run, but before doing so he hastily took a shot at Leon which again did not find it’s mark. Deciding to run now after missing his shot he took off into the forest, hoping he didn’t draw too much attention to himself.
Little did he know Myrka took notice of him and charged after him leaving the rest of the party to clean up. Yukiko noticing Cuddles wounds healed the giant wolf before running off after Myrka, apparently worried for her safety all the while yelling after her to come back and to be careful.
The last warrior in the clearing still alive after watching his allies die before him became enraged once again and charged Leon cursing him and whatever god he served. Leon easily parring the soldiers now sloppy attacks grinned and countered with his own, yelling “For Melora!” before dealing a fatal blow leaving the warrior with no doubt about which goddess Leon worshipped. Sheathing his swords he ran after his companions into the forest with Cuddles on his heels.
Barthus left in the clearing on his own, was confronted by the man in robes. “Look what the Raven Queen has given to you!” holding out a handful of feathers. “These feathers are a gift from the Goddess. You can use them in your time of need. Please take them” and handed them to Barthus. “You and your companions have gained our trust, and we shall answer your call have you need of our services.”
With that, Barthus ran off after his friends after thanking the man in the robes and the rest of the Raven Queen soldiers.