Reign of Winter

Summary 26: Clueless

Chapter Five: Rasputin Must Die

Surrounded in rusted metal barbs, the Stone Golems slammed hard upon the half breeds and tore gaping holes, blood pouring out of each like a well.  Those wounds closed quickly and everyone’s dry flaky skin regained moisture with MIYUKI’s sudden blast of positive energy.  Meanwhile, the Horde made quick work of the constructs and scattered granite all about the former baptismal chamber.  As they checked the conditions of their weapons and their wounds, the Horde was greeted by another RASPUTIN Astral Projection.  Wanting to stir the pot, the Mad Monk had words for the variant Paladin.  He called MIYUKI by the name given to her by NATHAREN, her Half-Elf custodian, and decreed that the maiden’s true name had been lost.  Visibly distraught, MIYUKI endured more verbal attacks and was accused of keeping a great secret; one NATHAREN had knowledge of but kept in the dark.  RASPUTIN sensed darkness within the former child and questioned her true intentions.  Shocked, the Paladin remained silent and RASPUTIN insisted that SHANG-TSUNG fire a single arrow at the Healer.  The Samurai readied a missile, fought off the Oracle’s Domination and watched his arrow pass through the amused illusion.  Clearly RASPUTIN’s foes were in denial but the Mad Monk wanted the Horde to learn the truth.  The Oracle vanished after sending the Elder a Murderous Command and SHANG-STUNG obeyed.  His arrow hit MIYUKI square in the back, the thing passing though her soft innards.  Suddenly, the missile’s radiant glow flashed violently causing even more pain, honing in on something sinister within the Paladin’s soul.  As MIYUKI struggled to pull the weapon out and closed the hole with a swift healing hand, SHANG-TSUNG came to his senses and demanded an explanation.  With his bow raised, the Elder accused the maiden of being another or perhaps the same Doppelganger they met in Artrosa; MIYUKI started crying, unable to answer.  Looking towards OTAK, MIYUKI insisted she was the same girl they had met back in Heldren so many months ago.  The theory of her being Queen ELVANNA in disguise was quickly rejected and the Horde was content pretending the whole incident never happened.  Only time would tell if RASPUTIN’s seed of doubt would pay off.

Having scouted out the rubble below, the Horde ascended the soul onion tower and engaged the three Pale Snipers within.  Looking out narrow window slits with exotic heavy crossbows in hand, the Undead clearly were not in the mood for small talk.  The Horde was ordered to leave and a warning shot was fired at their feet when they refused to comply.  To avoid unwanted attention, the Horde opted to return to their posts.

In search for clues and none available thus far, SHANG-TSUNG had his sights on RASPUTIN’s home yet again, only this time, he would not enter alone.  Wanting to wait until dark to mask their approach, the Horde returned to the barracks to mingle with the peons.  OTAK prepared to shield MIYUKI from Russian testosterone but to all’s surprise, he complex was lifeless.  What used to be fifty strong was reduced to half a dozen men strapped to beds, their skin paled and an aura of disease and despair surrounding them.  Each was punctured twice at the wrist, fresh blood dripping from the holes.  The Paladin stated t’was the work of Vampires, feeding off the living and keeping them barely alive for seconds and thirds.  With a six hour wait unit nightfall, the Horde braved the stink and posed as appetizers in hopes to take the spawn by surprise if it felt the urge to dine.  After an uneventful power nap, the Horde unstrapped themselves, dove into the shadows and made their way to RASPUTIN’s.

Three Spectral Searchlights were in the vicinity and the Horde timed their movements to avoid detection.  OTAK used the Chime of Opening to disable the door’s lock and the Horde entered the forbidden library.  Clearly the Mad Monk had anticipated the plot and greeting the Horde at the door.  With BABA YAGA’s prison in one hand and a white flag in the other, RASPUTIN offered the Matryoshka Doll in hopes to avoid further conflict.  He placed the toy upon a nearby table and vanished hoping that his family and the Horde could get along.  Suddenly, the doll began hovering, dark twisted energies surrounding it.  The thing unfastened revealing three smaller dolls within.  Once all opened, four ROMANOV souls escaped from their respective cages sought out revenge against anyone within reach.  All clearly from noble decent, the three young women and boy had slit throats and several bleeding holes upon their bodies.  Eerily similar to the Witchdaughter’s Nightmare, the figments phased in and out of space time and twitched about, their eyes wide open in fury.  Their mere presence hit a nerve and MIYUKI entered a divine rage, wanting nothing more than to dispel the overwhelming evil within the chamber.  She targeted one of the women and nearly ended the noblewoman’s suffering.  SHANG-TSUNG’s arrows proved less effective as both OTAK and UPANIX charged the masses.  Waves of Confusion erupted all about the room but the Paladin’s Aura of Resolve was potent enough to negate the effects.  Meanwhile, the Samurai felt the urge to fall into a Deep Slumber, but the Elder was not tired.  The remaining souls however had a bone to pick with the Half-Giant, their touch infecting the Specimen’s flesh in necrotic boils.  Crying and in obvious pain, MIYUKI continued her onslaught downing the first Animate Dream and crippling another as she smote evil.  Another charm was resisted and both OTAK and UPANIX were subjected to a corrupting touch.  The Horde retaliated and brought a swift end to the ROMANOV children and returned the Paladin to a civil state.

Though MIYUKI was feeling much better, the Paladin sensed more evil within the home.  After mending a few wounds, a door to the right was opened and quickly closed after gazing within the chamber beyond.  Eight Ghost-like nobles, each with an elongated arm, had another Ghost-like noblewoman surrounded and within their grasps, entangled.  Unresponsive and dealt a fatal would to the head, the Horde left the poor damsel in distress to avoid an altercation with her Specter captors.  Having not alarmed the undead to their presence, the Horde deemed it safe to search the home’s final chamber.
 
The bedroom beyond was clear of foes and traps…  A Blessed Book had been Identified and pillaged for coin but the Cloak of Etherealness hanging on the wall proved far more interesting.  The room was turned upside down, their search revealing complex and exotic documentation.  A notebook belonging to a Nikola TESLA had been found, many of the pages depicting the massive coils atop the four main watchtowers.  Another detailed document produced by a Viktor MILOSLAV had also been discovered nearby.  Arcane formulae and components had been noticed on the later but the two works worthy of Earth’s Nobel Prize was far beyond the Horde’s comprehension.  Though SHANG-STUNG tried extremely hard to understand and appreciate the scientist’s accomplishments, OTAK was far less enthralled and tore the blueprints asunder.  Having arrived at an impasse, the Elder gathered the shredded documents and led the Horde to the building with a presumed Demon.

As the Horde approached the ruined building, MIYUKI’s head began pounding, clearly, whatever OTAK had spotted the day prior was surly still within.  Wanting a better idea what the Horde was up against, it was decided that UPANIX make use of their new trinket.  It was also believed that the Cloak of Etherealness would perhaps prove useful against RASPUTIN’s Astral Projection.  The Specimen donned the cloth and attempted to leave the material plane.  What had not been explained however was that the process inflicted a burring pain throughout the entirety of his body, a pain that wouldn’t cease.  Albeit his melting flesh, UPANIX truly believed to have travelled where no Barbarian has gone before, but the cursed Cloak of Immolation was in fact incinerating the Half-Giant alive.  The stink of burnt hair and flesh filling the air and the Specimen’s scream alarmed a contingent of Russian troops, each carrying a bucket of water.  Sadly, the water had no effect as the ordeal compelled several troops to empty their stomachs at the horrific sight.  Unable to remove the second cursed item to cross the Specimen, MIYUKI put herself in harm’s way to make UPANIX more comfortable with her soothing touch.  Luckily, the Gods would it have it that UPANIX be shown mercy as the Paladin’s healing hand removed RASPUTIN’s curse and rendered the cloak worthless.  Amazed the man had survived; the troops shook the human torch’s hand and left with a story to tell their future grandchildren.  When the coast was clear, UPANIX cursed both RASPUTIN and the Gods controlling his destiny.

After being made whole and treated for third degree burns, UPANIX led the charge within the ruined barracks and he and the Horde laid waste to the Meladaemon and his three Baykok riflists.  The Outsider’s Waves of Fatigue and moisture siphoning Horrid Wilting had been proved to be a nuisance at best, but the Demon stood little chance against pure rage.  T’was clear that the thing was scavenging for a meal amongst the countless charred bodies strapped to beds.  One of the bodies however, had a strange constructed leg; more than likely the very man POLINA saw conceiving the Anchors of the World.  But alas, the man was very much dead and his soul lost; not even MIYUKI’s gift of life was potent enough to restore him.  SHANG-TSUNG confiscated the man's prosthetic as a consolation prize, perhaps to make use of it at a later time.  Having hit yet another wall, the Horde travelled to the prison’s eastern wing in dire need of answers.

SHANG-TSUNG returned to the building where MIYUKI was struck by lightning, the one dominated by an overgrown tree.  Keeping his distance, the Samurai used a charge of his Speak with Plants wand in hopes to converse with the mad Lightning Treant.  With strict orders to defend his building from intruders, the weed offered nothing but warnings to stay away.  Feeding off the energies produced by the nearby TESLA coil, channeled lightning would be granted to those who’d test the plant’s resolve.  Having caught the thing’s drift, the Horde traveled a little ways south to the next building.

The chapel and the building directly east of it had one thing in common, both were damaged beyond repair.  The haphazard pile of burnt timbers resembling a mound of charred and tangled bones offered nothing but broken dreams and disappointment.  Though the building behind it was in far better condition, the horrific scene within would forever leave a mental scar that would never heal.  Eviscerated bodies strung up in barbed wire, their flesh stretched out to expose raw muscle and their disemboweled entrails draped like limp clotheslines dominated the gore filled hospice.  The creature within performing macabre surgery composed of foreign limbs, gnarled braches and barbed wire applauded the Horde for their timely arrival.  Equipped with sadistic tools and donning a quilt of flayed flesh interlaced with tangled nerves, the Interlocutor Kyton was in need of spare parts.  Having gone mad and breaking ties with RASPUTIN, the Kyton ordered the Horde’s unconditional surrender.  UPANIX took offense and cut one of the things arms off.  The melee that ensued was short lived but the Specimen suffered greatly before its conclusion.  The Half-Giant walked into four razor sharp claws, each slicing cleanly into vital areas, both sets rending through enough flesh to fabricate a dress.  Verging on unconsciousness after having lost twenty or so pounds of body mass and fluids, both MIYUKI and MAIN were quick to restore the big man back to Half-Giant status.  Meanwhile, the building was briefly searched revealing nothing of interest.  Suddenly, someone not within the Horde’s ranks, sneezed.  Peering into a nearby closet had revealed two stowaways, a hemophiliac boy and a lethargic young woman suffering from amnesia.  The boy ALEXEI explained to the Elder that he was protecting…, hiding his sister ANASTASIA from anyone believed to be affiliated with Russia’s Bolshevik Government.  As the boy rambled on, the Horde noticed something peculiar; the lad was the splitting image of one of the Animate Dreams encountered in RASPUTIN’s home.  And though she wasn’t an exact match, ANASTASIA resembled the other three figments and the lone woman entrapped by the noble Specters.  When questioned about RASPUTIN, ALEXEI confirmed the man to be an old friend of the family but was assassinated some months ago.  When the Horde decreed the boy’s statement to be false, ALEXEI wasn’t all that surprised that the Mad Monk was still around.  RASPUTIN had been presumed dead nearly half a dozen times already.   Rumored to have unnatural and mystical powers, RASPUTIN was labeled as one of Earth’s most wanted.  Unaware of the Mad Monk’s actual whereabouts, ALEXEI and ANASTASIA were dismissed and both retreated back to their hiding spot.

Still with no leads to follow, the Horde reluctantly agreed to head towards the undead encampment next.  The thought of Headless Cossacks and a decrepit Goat was appalling to most, more so in the Half-Orc’s eyes.  With the argument to leave no stone unturned, OTAK offered to make second contact with the mustard gas in hopes to learn more about its occupants.  With his net in hand, the Gom tribesman jumped the fence and into certain death.  As the fumes began dissolving Orc flesh, OTAK’s net failed to snag one of the staggering mounds.  The slow recovery that ensued allowed a dozen or so Trench Zombies to converge onto OTAK’s position, all slamming into whatever was left of the Half-Orc.  By the time OTAK exited the mist with a Trench Zombie in haul, both he and the Undead had much in common…, physically.  Still amongst the living, barely, OTAK looked to the Paladin to make him feel better.
 
CHALLENGE
XP
2 Stone Golems
6400
4 Romanov Souls; Advanced Animate Dreams
6400
Advanced Meladaemon
4800
3 Baykok Riflists
4800
Advanced Interlocutor Kyton
6400
Trench Zombie
600
Session total
29400
Campaign total
437120

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