The plan to win the Horde War was outlined the morning after the Battle at Castle Desia. While High Commander Rison and the platoon-sized strike force would act as a vanguard for the Second Army in the clean-up operations in Western Desia, the strike teams would be dispatched on their own. Five of the five-man teams would be sent South to shore up the Desia-Malton border in case of Maltonian aggression; the last thing Desia needed was the Legions invading at a time like this. The other fifteen teams, including the Knight Lieutenants, would be sent West. Their mission would be to travel to the headquarters of the Undead and Lizardfolk and disrupt their operations, permanently if possible. As originally planned, they would leave Desia City in one week, using the deployment of the Second Army as cover.
Given a week to set their affairs in order, the team split up across the city, each making their own preparations for the mission that would likely see them gone from civilization for months.
Akarn set about building a druid’s grove in a nearby forest, creating a scrying pool and several wards to keep it safe. When attempting to create an altar, he was approached by what he soon identified as an Angel of Melora. Communication was strained; Akarn worshipped the primal spirits of the world, and had no reason to trust a messager of the gods. The language barrier was also present. The Angel tried to strike a bargain with Akarn, promising to provide an altar of living wood if the druid would help to clear the Temple of Melora in Western Desia of what it described as an ‘aberrant infestation’. After much thought, Akarn rejected the offer, not wanting to enter into a deal with what he viewed as a foreign power. If he did clear the Temple, it’d be of his own volition. The Angel, apparently disappointed by this, nevertheless bowed to Akarn’s desires and left him. The druid did, with significant effort, manage to forge his living altar with the help of several minor primal spirits.
Cole, true to his nature, hit the taverns. Eventually he made his way to The Giant’s Mug, an establishment Cole found delightful for the Goliath bartender and the games of chance. He soon struck up a conversation with a half-elf who was a self-described mercenary. However, after several games of chance Cole had lost all his money to the half-elf, who then gave the ‘Captain’ an offer. The mercenary told Cole he had been hired to kill someone, and that if Cole helped he could have most of his money back. Curious (and thinking of jumping the half-elf anyways), Cole agreed to follow the man. Upon reaching an alley the half-elf attempted to stab Cole in the back using his rapier, but the swashbuckler avoided it and began dueling his attacker. Several moments later, a githyanki appeared at the other end of the alley, blocking Cole in. Cole used Glimmer Blade to face both opponents at once, and despite being hard-pressed came out the winner. He broke the half-elf’s rapier, leaving the killer with only a dagger, and largely kept the gith at bay. Finally, the half-elf was killed and the githyanki fled. Searching the corpse of the wannabe assassin, Cole recovered his money with more to spare and uncovered evidence that the man was a member of the Steel Souls Company.
Mary-Lou turned to her studies in earnest for really the first time since the War had begun. She began her week by studying the Supernal language, making progress in that effort while realizing just how staggering the tongue of the gods could be. She also researched the art of metamagic, both through reading ancient texts provided her by the Desian Mages and the Church of Ioun and by conferring with fellow weilders of the arcane arts. Finally, to her great surprise, hile walking around the city she was accosted by what initially appeared to be a sentient ball of magical energy. However, when it caught up to her it revealed itself to be a small familiar. Apparently Mary-Lou’s magic had grown such that she had attracted the familiar’s attention, and it could not help but wish to join her in her travels.
Laesath made his way to the Temple of the Raven Queen, to confer with his goddess and do some soul-searching after his encounter with the baelnorn. He was surprised to find a familiar face: Lord Mortimer, paladin of the Raven Queen and his old master. The paladin was glad to see his pupil once more, but was disturbed by the events that had occurred in Desia while he was away in the Shadowfell. Upon being told of the bronze chain symbol that the undead had begun displaying, Mortimer told Laesath that he had seen such symbols before: on undead wandering through the Shadowfell city of Gloomwrought. Mortimer suspected that Laesath might have to travel there, and believed that the cleric was woefully unprepared for the dangers of his Lady’s realm. The paladin proposed to help retrain Laesath as an avenger of the Raven Queen if his pupil could best him in a duel; if Laesath could avoid ‘the Lady’s blessing’, as Mortimer called it, then he would prove himself capable of learning the powers of an avenger. After an extended fight, with both combatants worn out, Mortimer conceded that Laesath was the victor, and began his training anew.
Meanwhile, Bigg was seen moving through the city on business of his own . . .