Kalina’s Ladder

Previously, the Heroes of the White Eye found themselves at the Scatterfoot farm where they met Dick, James’ childhood friend who helped them find the Reaverhaunt caves, the hideout the bandits were using to lay low. Aided by Emrys’ arcane abilities, the heroes had explored the caves and had found a well-stocked armoury, a large cave with a bunch of resting bandits, and a separate room where Kalina had been hiding out. When discovered, Kalina had attacked and grievously wounded James before escaping into the darkness. Meanwhile, a strange apparition made of pure shadow had been following the heroes, keeping out of the light, but had since attacked Emrys and drained him of most of his strength.

Fifth Day, First Ride, Autumn Red, 1262

(Silvermoon in high sanction. Bloodmoon in high sanction. Darkmoon is waxing.)

James opened his eyes and felt the fog of unconsciousness receding together with the burn of the poison which had turned his nervous system on fire. He quickly assessed the situation and realised that Kalina had made her escape. Astrid had wasted no time to bolt into the darkness to follow the fleet-footed Silesian bandit, but James heard her gasping out a strangled breath that told him his Helmarker friend was in trouble.

Once James had regained consciousness, Luca spoke an arcane command and opened a portal that allowed him to travel small distances in the blink of an eye. He put his hand on Emrys’ shoulder and pulled the sorcerer through with him. The two teleported through the dark portal, eerily reminiscent of the portal through which the Skaven had poured into the catacombs underneath the Sheridan estate. The instantaneously reappeared at the mouth of the cave, and if it wasn’t for the fact that the two immediately stood face to face with the dangerous bandit, they would have noticed the unstable flickering of the portal through which they came.

Despite the strange, ethereal jaunt through the unstable portal, Luca and Emrys reacted swiftly and unleashed a barrage of enchantments on Kalina designed to restrain her; including the most difficult of magics; polymorphism. Emrys turned Kalina into a sheep, which could easily be leashed.

While Luca and Emrys easily subdued Kalina, James and Quentin rushed to Astrid’s aid and found her being attacked by the strange shadow creature. Like Emrys, Astrid was severely weakened. Between the three of them, together with the help of a torch, they managed to drive the shadow creature off and deeper into the cave, towards where the bandits had been spotted.

Once everyone had reunited a decision was made to lead the still polymorphed Kalina back to the Scatterfoot farm, intending to take the horses and head back to the abandoned mill near the Sheridan estate.

Dick was happy to see the heroes returned in relatively good health. Emrys reverted Kalina back into her normal form and James decided to strip her down to her skivviesĀ  and take all of her gear, in case she had any more tricks up her sleeve. When he went out to find Stubbs’ body in order to have Kalina change into his clothes, he noticed more than half a dozen shadowy creatures slowly descending down upon Scatterfoot farm.

Rushing back inside to inform the others, the heroes started to look at ways to keep the shadows at bay; torches, lanterns, candles and anything that could be improvised. Dick wasted no time to smash up one of the old, wooden tables and turn it into kindling. The farmhouse was old and the wooden walls and thatched roof was full of creaks and holes, but the light would hopefully drive the shadows off.

For a few hours the shadows, which were distinctly different from the shadowy creature which lead them, could be seen moving in and out of the light, prodding and probing the heroes’ defences. During this time the heroes rested and bandaged their wounds. The strange withering which the shadowy creature had inflicted on Astrid and Emrys had faded and they felt much better.

But deep in the night, when the moons disappeared behind stormy clouds, the shadows came for them, creeping through the cracks in the walls and assaulting the door, which had been guarded by Quentin. The fight was very chaotic, with shadows coming at them from all sides, draining their strength from their body and proving to be very difficult to defeat. Kalina, though bound, was causing trouble for the heroes as well. Luca shot bolt after angry bolt of eldritch energy, but found that he was hit by vicious feedback from Blackstar.

When the shadows started draining one of the heroes of their strength, it appeared almost as if a new shadow was trying to separate itself from the very essence of the person that was being drained. As if a dark version of their souls was angrily thrashing, trying to escape the bonds of the hero’s body.

Kalina was pummelled into unconsciousness so that she could no longer prove a problem, but while the numbers of shadows were dwindling, the shadowy creature who lead them swooped into the house and set upon Kalina, draining her until she withered and expired. As the shadowy creature tried to escape through the gaps in the thatched roof, Luca ran outside and threw bolts of eldritch fire at it until it dissipated.

Having lost Kalina, James wasn’t sure what the next steps should be to get to the bottom of the situation, or what to tell the day master.

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