New Enemies in the Shadows

Two days pass….

Amer spends most of his time trying to spend as much time as possible near Valten as he speaks to the townsfolk. On the second day Valten does not hold his questioning, instead Xarth sees him head out very early in the morning with his four guards and their captain. Once Xarth returns to town he tries again to pass a message unto Lady Marjorie to little avail.

Esandeor is doing his best to work with people that are at least neutral to the elves, but he finds very few are willing to cross the general mood of the town. Briz tries to help him while tracking down information about Heidi, the Baron’s new bard. While listening in he hears rumors concerning the Trading House is in league with dark spirits.

Shadow Company

On the third evening everyone just finished eating dinner at the store when Sofiya and Esandeor feel a deep chill suddenly in the room. Briz, more in turned with the supernatural, turns and see several shadowy forms moving towards them from a corner. Briz tries to attack the shadows, but their strange movements and vague outline make it too difficult. As if sensing they have been attacked, the shades move quickly to surround Esandeor; although Briz and Xarth manage to stop him from being surrounded.

A sharp exchange of might and magic eventually drives the shadows more fully into this realm. They are now seen as brilliant orange orbs surrounded by a column of smoke. Xarth manages to damage one enough that the smoke dissipates, leaving a gaunt charcoal humanoid. Amer recognizes them from his travels as Ombramones (Shadow Demons) and knows that they cannot travel long in our world so the summoner must be close, just as Sofiya kills it with a thrown dagger. Briz opens a link between himself and the demon and draws the power into himself, its demonic power draws around Briz, but the creature is vulnerable enough that Esandeor can cleave it in twain.

A brilliant white pillar of light, emblazoned with the Open Eye of Rath, suddenly appears around the remaining Ombramone trapping it within. Sofiya opens the door to find Voltan outside with his personal guard. She quickly sees that one of the nearby lanterns is smoking heavily and has Xarth douse it. Their gateway closed, the remaining demon and its dead companions disappear leaving behind only heaps of coal ash. Briz was covered in ash and ichor as the demon trapped within the pillar was ripped apart when the gateway was closed.

Amer, Sofiya, and Voltan get into a heated argument over the “demonic rituals” that are clearly going on in their store. Interestingly when he was backed into a corner by their combines arguments, Voltan backed down. He took the lantern as proof of their witchery and left with his guards. Xarth did not want to get involved, so he took Briz to a healer that Amer has dealt with in town. Esandeor wisely decides to stay inside rather than risk giving Voltan another reason to suspect them.

Morning brings New Hope

Briz returns to the store and finds Xarth cleaning up last nights mess. While they are discussing the attack, Father Dominic stops by as he heard about what happened. He talks to Amer about it and offers to cleanse and bless the store. He also comes with a warning that rumors are spreading through the town that this store is a place of evil. He hopes that by blessing the store publicly he can put these rumors to rest before things get out of hand. Amer agrees that angry mobs burning the store is probably bad for business.

Esandeor left the store early in the morning to visit the Elven House and luncheon with them. They warn him that one or more of the people working at the store is a font of evil. The font is allowing an evil spirit to use them and spread its power through the town. They have already seen signs of decay and rot seeping in to the houses and townsfolk behavior. They implore him to watch over us and report immediately if he uncovers the font.

Sofiya and Amer spend the day gathering fine foods and drink for tonight’s dinner. They had invited over Voltan and want to put their best foot forward. They hire a few maids to clean Amer’s townhouse and prepare the meal. Briz would have liked to attend the dinner as well, if nothing else as an entertainer, but he has to spend his day moving about the town squelching rumors that the store is cursed and its proprietors are in league with demons. By the morning Briz, Amer, and Sofiya are all successful in their tasks. Voltan is now a potential confident and the town has once again accepted the store.

Ambush!

Xarth abandons the store, since nobody was stopping by anyway, and heads into the woods northwest of the town. The off-putting feeling that he and Briz felt there while arms training has grown stronger and moved closer to town. It is now clearly carries a demonic or murderous taint. The natural animals of the forest can sense the thing and have moved far from its meandering path. Xarth runs back to town and finds Briz and Esandeor at the store. He tells them what he found and implores them to investigate it with him.

As they reach the bridge to cross the Aland River, Esandeor is nearly struck by two arrows that came from the woods across the river. He holds up his shield to protect himself and runs towards the bridge. He just barely reaches the bridge when two more arrows strike him deep and he falls over. Briz rushes to his side and pulls him to safety. With Briz occupied, Xarth uses his magic to transform enough of the water solid so that he can cross the river and rush into the woods before the attackers can respond.

Xarth finds two elves in the woods and attacks him. It is difficult battle for Xarth as the elves seem to have trained extensively in fighting in the woods and Xarth is forced to fall back. The elves were about to press their advantage when Briz makes an illusion of armed horsemen from the town charging across the bridge towards the woods. The elves see the danger approaching and flee deeper into the woods, but not before Xarth manages to grab one of their bows and some arrows from them. He shows them to Esandeor and the elf tells them that the arrows are called Blood Arrows and used only when fighting for vengeance.

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