Asternia, Augor, and Oren

Oh Mother, the horror I have seen

Talriel log 8: session 10/16/16

Dear Mother,

No matter the horror of the events I am about to unfold here on this sheet of parchment, it is imperative that you remember that we are all okay, and that is what's important. With that disclaimer, I shall fill you in on what has transpired.

We knew that moving Nihyel to Fort Ash was a risky move. To be honest, we sort of wished to force the smiles' hand. We had decided to sleep in shifts to take watch. Thankfully we heard sounds, and bumps in the night, and this let us stay on guard, and keep alert for the coming onslaught. The three willing: Tovyn chose not to rest. In our initial plan, we had detailed for Saben (the Hellknight who was guarding Nihyel) to take watch with Nihyel. I'll explain this in a bit, but one thing is for sure, had Tovyn not been ever-watchful, there would have been dire consequences.

The attack begun in an instant, arcane words were muttered, and Boro bolted out of his tent fully transformed, and howling like a mad man. He immediately ran to Nihyel, and violently seized him. In mere seconds, Boro was tearing through the forest, with Nihyel dangling underarm, helpless before his might. As soon as this happened, I linked senses with Nihyel hoping to keep track of him as they pathed through the forest, perhaps even to get an idea as to why Boro might betray us. Tovyn and Eze'kiel were in hot pursuit, but there were many smiles hidden in wait, behind the maze of trees scattered throughout the forest. It was at this point I began to suspect that some sort of compulsion magic were in affect. I know if you were here, you would have been able to detect and dispel such magics in an instant, but sadly, I am not yet far enough in my training.

The next events are a bit unclear, because I had no sight of anyone but Nihyel. I can only assume Tovyn, and Eze'kiel got caught dealing with their concealed assailants. Nihyel put up a great fight to break free from Boro's crushing grasp, but alas, he did not fair as well as he would have liked. After much failed struggling, he opted to instead mark his path with a flaming concoction. Unfortunately, it was the dead of night, and we had not been able to see until he had done this. In this frame of my concentration, I felt a sharp pain in my shoulder, but I felt it imperative to maintain the link. It was mere seconds later I found myself pushed into our campfire. This delayed me for mere moments, as I extinguished the flame, and ran to the aid of my friends, Apolline in tow.

I found Tovyn not too far from the fight, dealing with the perpetrators in a swift and vindictive fashion. I continued running forward and laid eyes on what had become of Eze'kiel. If you recall from my earlier correspondence, Nihyel had concocted a mixture he believed would temporarily mimic the affects fo the smiles' transformations. Eze'kiel either through foolishness, or desperation, had quaffed the foul brew. He had indeed transformed into a gangly horror, but he kept his wits about him, and made the most of altered state.  He tore through the trees leaping from foe to foe dispatching them with unholy ease. He was able to blind Boro using a chemical weapon Nihyel provided us all prior. With Boro blinded, Eze'kiel quickly subdued him, and Nihyel ran to assumed safety.

It was here I truly began to fear for all our lives as we madly scrambled to heal our wounds, and prepare for the next onslaught. They brought 2 new demons with them. One who seemed to launch projectile acid from the core of his body. I don't think I could possibly describe in detail, the horror of his abhorrent form, so I shall spare us both the repulsive image. He played the role of siege cannon, and it appeared to pain him greatly. It is truly a sick, and twisted magic the smiles entwine themselves with. The other form was perhaps a bit less despicable, but still unsettling. I suppose I would call the woman a bat of sorts. She had long membranous hair/flesh on the underside of her arms that allowed her flight. Had Eze'kiel not thrown his container of chemicals in Boro's eyes, this bat woman would likely have gotten hold of Nihyel.

The ensuing brawl was terse, and remorseless. We each fought within an inch of lives of our lives. Eze'kiel, Tovyn, and Apolline continued annihilating the smiles, while I sat back and did my best to keep them performing at a peak. When it appeared Nihyel had escaped, the bat women switched focus onto us. She swooped from above, attempting to grasp us in her piercing talons. She even made a pass for me at one point, and had I not been wearing a snapleaf I found earlier, I may not be writing this letter to you. For the duration of this skirmish, we were being peppered with acidic blasts from their siege demon. Eze'kiel, the fool, bolted off to stop him. I'm not quite sure what happened, but shortly after Eze'kiel disappeared, the last few bolts hit the bat woman. I can only assume he had some direct hand in this, but I'd rather not know the details of his methodology.

It was then, in the next few moments, that a sickening truth came to bear. Sabenn had betrayed us! At first, I thought this was another trick of the smiles, and their powers of mental compulsion, but there is sadly evidence to the contrary. Sabenn called out "He's Here!" resounding Nihyel's location to the scattered remains of the smiles' forces. Before we were able to come to his aid, Ippin tried to the best of his abilities to fight her off, but he clearly has no formal training in combat. I honestly feel for him in that regard, I remember a similar feeling of helplessness training with Father, and Porter. Regardless, he kept at her with tenacity. The first blow against her was when Eze'kiel leaped into the fray. Upon cutting into her form, she became amorphous. Where he lopped a piece off of her, it fell to the ground in a viscous, steaming liquid. 

With Sabenn dispatched, the last major threat was the bat woman. Unable to take off with Nihyel, she began to tear at him with her claws. Between the incredible strength of Eze'kiel and Tovyn, they managed to immobilize the beast long enough for Apolline to let loose a choice shot from her bow, felling the beast. With this the battle was won. It may feel a bit like a pyrrhic victory, however, we did manage to subdue a handful of the smiles, which was our objective from the beginning. We managed to capture the siege monster, Boro, and a few underlings. I hope we can come to agreeable terms with them. After all, we went through such great troubles to secure them.

Lovingly,

Talriel

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