This…is the story of how Kilkax died.
But don’t worry, it gets worse from here!
Once upon a time, there was a bard named Kilkax, who woke up to smoke from under the door to his room. Turns out, it was just some morning ritual performed by the fire cultists at Scarlet Moon Hall. He noticed that his friend, Anora the Sorceress, had not emerged from her quarters, so he decided to drop in. To his horror, he discovered her in the same afflicted state that he had been in before: Gumbification! Green splotches dotted her in various areas and it seemed like she was literally made of jelly. He decided to leave her be.
In another part of the tower, Ryo the “Ranger”, Tinuviel the Wizard and a whole bunch of people had their hands bound, a burlap sack on their heads and were taken to the cellar. It was a dank and decrepit basement that made ‘Actual Druid’ Garienna uneasy. She wished her sprites were with her, but they had to be left at camp; little did she know, her tiny friends were mercilessly slaughtered by the cult guards. The hippies from earlier were there as well, including three bugbears under the alias of “Vincent Humanman.” A guard opened the hatch and took Mahoon—-the first of many casualties that day.
Meanwhile, Sandro the Paladin was stuck with the hot hippie, both awaited the call for the ritual. He was anxious, pacing back and forth, and questioned Varigo if things seemed very wrong to which the hippie spouted some unintelligent garbage that killed his sex appeal. Sandro walked away and up the hill to inquire the other people who obviously were freaky and in cahoots with the Cult of the Eternal Flame. Two of them smelled like wet dog. He managed to glean more information and things definitely did not look good for his friends.
Kilkax went to find Elizar, who immediately started creeping and coming on hard to the poor guy. The latter mentioned that the ritual would be grand and even though their Prophet, Vanifer, was not there to join them, all would be done in the name of their lord, Imix. The creeper asked about Anora’s whereabouts, and despite Kilkax’s protests to leave her alone, went to check on her and ended up equally freaked out by the state that she was in. They brought her along to the scaffolding, anyways, because Elizar was a pushy ho. Once they were outside, they were immediately greeted by the sight and screams of a man set on fire. Kilkax was horrified and dropped Anora, who fell down two stories, but surprisingly bounced up and away past the gates…past a stunned Sandro, who asked his group mates if they were seeing the same freaky shit unfold. They commented that they’ve seen weirder things, and by Boldrei’s eyebrows, Sandro swore he saw the two men to his left’s teeth lengthen. He peered at the sky and asked himself, ‘what kind of werewolves come out at midday???’ He glanced at where Anora had landed and saw her tucked into some foliage and soil off the main path. She seemed safe there. He noted that he’ll need to go back and pick her up at some point.
Back at the basement, Ryo had found a trap door lever underneath the rugs. He yanked at it and was almost discovered by a guard. He ended up being picked as the next kindle but before being dragged away, he grasped Tinuviel’s arm and threw her a panicked and pleading look. Bound again and burlap sacked, he joined the sobbing Garienna and Vincent Humanman. He also noticed that the sacks were…wet. Fuel, perhaps? Downstairs, Tinuviel got Sauruki to help her with the lever, but have difficulty as guards were popping in and out of the hatch. Sauruki mentioned that fire cultists panic and have no real plan and that they must bide their time. Eventually they made their escape just as another person was dragged upstairs.
After having waited a while by the gates, Sandro and the others were finally let in. He saw Kilkax and flashed him his million-dollar smile. Somewhere in the distance, Ryo swooned. Kilkax began addressing the Children of the Hearth, with an emboldening speech that carried hidden messages about DYING, KILLING and ATTACKING the cult. Elizar commended him and proceeded to entwine his fingers with Kilkax’s. The latter glanced back at his friend with defeat in his eyes that screamed, ‘I’M NOT IN CONTROL HERE’ to which Sandro gave him a subtle middle-finger.
Chanting erupted as Vincent Humanman was brought out, practically dragged to his feet—their guise long-detected. The first bug bear started crying, muttering broken pleas for mercy, the other two snarled and chittered rabidly. Immediately one’s throat was slit, then tossed and engulfed by flames; the others, clubbed and thrown into the fire..alive. Varigo looked very disturbed, so Sandro kicked at his ankles, urged him to stay with him to fight. Their friends were in grave danger and if he ran, he’d be killed. Minutes passed and panic had gotten the better of Varigo. Sandro tried to restrain him, but he bolted away. One of the men transformed into a werewolf and killed Varigo in cold blood. Tinuviel and Sauruki made it out of the cellar, just behind the tower. She recognized Kilkax’s form up above, cast dancing lights and caught his attention. He flailed around to try to deliver a message but Tinuviel could not decipher, so he cast mage hand and wrote ‘HELP’ on the dirt below. She responded with ‘RYU CAPTURED’ in the same fashion. Speaking of Ryo, our freckly cutie was on the first floor with Garienna and a guard. He tried coaxing the guard to take off his burlap sack, but that did not work. As they took Garienna, Ryo tried his best to go in her stead but to no avail. Left to his devices, he busied himself with relinquishing his bonds—first by shaking off the damned sack off his head.He saw a halberd in the room and shimmied his way to cut his bonds off which he successfully did, but the noise attracted a guard and a fight ensued.
The werewolf had picked up Tinuviel and Sauruki’s scent and started heading in their direction, but the badass Wizard cleverly used dancing lights to distract the mutt and led him far, far away. Get lost, furball. Sauruki then realized that she was not of the water cult and they bickered and sassed each other out until Sauruki had enough and left like a jaded lover. It went something like..’FINE! I REALLY DON’T CARE!’ and ‘FINE! BE THAT WAY!’ She decided to go back to the cellar to round up the other prisoners to help them in the coming attack. Up at the tower, Kilkax, too, had had enough of Elizar’s bullshit. They had a rather dramatic lover’s quarrel and Kilkax proceeded to cast Blindness on the man, but all it ever did was piss him off a little. In that heated argument, he had said something that set Elizar off. To the fire cultist, Kilkax sounded like one of the Black Earth and Elizar uttered a phrase and the ritual began earlier than planned.
As the other cultists circled the Wicker Giant, they repeated “ARISE AND CLEANSE THIS PLACE OF THE UNWORTHY,” Kilkax saw the flames take a form and eyes set upon him.
Sensing Tinuviel nearby, Sandro tried sneaking away, fake pee dance and all but another from the group also transformed into a werewolf. They all turned their attention to the paladin and sicced the lycanthrope on him. Elizar, being the perverted nutjob that he obviously was, offered the charming bard another chance to join the cult all the while undressing him with his eyes. Kilkax was even more creeped out seeing that Elizar was already half-mast. Tinuviel, down in the cellar, saw Ryo using a halberd to fight a guard and fired a spell that set the floor boards—and guard ablaze. This helped Ryo deal more damage and narrowly escaped the burning inferno that was the floor. He rushed out to find and save Garienna while Tinuviel went and joined Sandro.
At the centre of the tower grounds, the Fire elemental was summoned and started devouring the cultists, becoming stronger. Elizar was highly amused by this display of wild activity. He honestly thought this was all friggin’ great. The fighting had escalated, spreading all over the area. Help arrived in the form of the remaining three druids and they helped Sandro and Tinuviel take on the werewolf and two others. Elizar had joined the fire elemental at the centre, both Kilkax and Tinuviel cast shatter all around and caught most of the opponents. The party was heavily split but Tinuviel and Kilkax still tried to coordinate with each other from afar. Garienna ended up rescuing herself and partnered with Ryo whom she healed since his leg was basically falling off. Together, they helped take on the elemental.
“HI MY NAME IS KILKAX AND THIS IS JACKASS”
From the burning levels of the tower, Kilkax made a kickass heroic leap off and away from the blazing structure and called over to Ryo. The fire elemental turned towards them, set more things on fire. It burned Ryo and Kilkax badly but Garienna dodged just in time. Elizar took out a flute—similar to the one Tinuviel won prior—and started playing it with a smug look on his face. Garienna did significant damage to the elemental by unleashing a blizzard. In one swift move, Kilkax tumbled out of the way and seamlessly cast Shatter, centred on Elizar, who dropped his flute and it shattered on the ground. He gave Kilkax one sick look and then Tinuviel cast Erupting Earth, altering the terrain around them. Just as Ryo force-pushed the elemental away and Sandro dealt the killing blow to the werewolf, Elizar turned to Kilkax with a look of anger and vengeance, cast a powerful spell that rapidly sapped the life-force from his body. Kilkax dropped to the floor..dead. Tinuviel had just witnessed her friend get killed in front of her, went berserk and ultimately rage-killed Elizar. The fire elemental suddenly did something unexpected—it ran off, leaving a trail of destruction in its wake and while that was still an utterly important mission, there were more grave things to be dealt with.
Our heroes managed to stem a dangerous operation and salvage lives, but the price was steep:
Kilkax was dead.