Reign of Winter

Summary 27: Rebirth of the Akuvskaya Monastery

Chapter Five: Rasputin Must Die


SESSION THEME

Repairing OTAK’s injuries took a toll on the Healer’s reserves forcing the Horde back to the Dancing Hut to rest and reunite with dear friends.  After a few drinks and a warm Golarian meal, SHANG-STUNG spent the eve piecing the torn blueprint found within RASPUTIN’s home.  Once made whole, the Samurai consulted the Hut’s library to compliment the knowledge he had acquired over his lengthy lifespan, in hopes to familiarize himself with advanced physics.  The document’s engineering components remained a mystery but with the Ochki’s aid, the Elder discovered arcane marks and theories intertwined within the alien technology.  Burying himself in books and scrolls, SHANG-TSUNG recognized the arcane formulae as some form of plane travelling.  Having noticed the others had fallen asleep, the Samurai followed suit opting to rejoice his findings at sunrise.

Morning came and SHANG-TSUNG’s discovery fell mostly upon deaf ears.  After first and second breakfast, the Rope of Climbing had been summoned and used as a Dinosaur leash; KRUSH was going to prison.  The Horde arrived at the Russian camp unmolested but was halted at the main gate.  The corporal on duty glanced at MIYUKI’s mid-section and then at KRUSH, his exotic hand crossbow pointing right at the animal.  The Horde explained that they’ve crossed paths with the thing and figured RASPUTIN would be impressed with their find.  The soldier however disagreed and fired a round, the bolt bouncing off hide armor.  Suddenly all in attendance were enthralled.  The corporal looked to the tower above and ordered another demonstration.  The soldier above mounted the dual heavy crossbow above, took aim and fired four dozen or so heavy bolts within a span of six seconds.  Once the smoke clear and the racket subsided, KRUSH appeared undamaged, surrounded by mangled shells.  A round of applause followed and the Horde was granted entry without further delay.

Ignoring the occasional glance from several Russian soldiers, the Horde reluctantly made their way to the Headless Cossack encampment.  Before entering, SHANG-TSUNG revealed a secret he had held back for days.  The Elder urged that all be weary of the Lantern Goat, the creep that haunted his dreams ever since first contact.  A pair of Headless Cossacks intercepted the Horde at the gates and motioned that they’d advanced far enough.  Suddenly from behind tents, two other Cossacks emerged, both OTAK and KRUSH’s Detached Shadows fading into the ground near them.  Curious, the three soldiers posted in a nearby tower watched on as tensions between both parties intensified.  Uncomfortable with the presence of headless monstrosities, the soldiers put their paper rubles on their fellow countrymen.  The battle that ensued was heavily one-sided and within a mere minute, six Heavy War Steeds had been freed to brave the surrounding marshland.  Aside from a lucky scimitar blow to the arm, reducing the Half-Giant’s strength to that of a mere man, the Horde had put on a good show in front of their peers.  UPANIX, OTAK and KRUSH approached the Goat and its unnerving aura.  OTAK was shaking in his boots whilst both UPANIX and KRUSH ran off in a panic and buried themselves in the snow.  The Archers made sure to keep their distance and fired their barbs; meanwhile OTAK swung his ram as hard as he could.  Unable to mount a proper defense, the animal stopped moving after a dozen arrows and two crushing blows.  OTAK dislodged one of the horns as a trophy whilst SHANG-TSUNG tossed the lantern against the watchtower with glee.  Fearing the Elder had doomed them all, everyone hit the deck as the lantern shattered to pieces.  The thing did indeed erupted in blinding necrotic light; luckily, pain and fire did not follow.  By the time the arcane energies subsided, the ghostly image of a hunched back man with an artificial leg remained.  The soul closed his eyes, looked up to the heavens and began fading away.  SHANG-TSUNG pulled out the man’s leg with intentions of returning it but t’was too late, the World Anchor inventor had reached the afterlife.  Similar to the phenomenon IMP experienced when the Horde smashed the fake Silver Orb o f Dragonkind, it was presumed that the man’s Trapped Soul was now available questioning.  Having some knowledge about Tombstone Fairies, MIYUKI was certain POLINA would be able to perform a Dance Macabre to restore the man back to life, an option she disapproved of.  When OTAK suggested that the man be Reincarnated into a lesser form of life via a scroll, the Paladin offered to Raise the Dead with a gesture of ultimate mercy.  After a small debate, the Horde agreed to execute the Maiden’s plan within the ruined barracks where the man was last seen.

The charred cripple was revisited and the corpse was primed for the delicate procedure.  MIYUKI closed her eyes, placed her glowing divine hands on the man’s chest and collapsed under the stress of life transference.  The burnt carcass suddenly gasped for air and the new man took a few moments to compose himself.  Wanting to know what had happened to him, the man’s inquiries were quickly dismissed as the Horde’s mission was made top priority.  When asked about RASPUTIN and the World Anchors, Doctor Viktor MILOSLAV had all the right answers.  The inventor had been hired, or more like given an ultimatum, to help conceive the supposed planer devices.  Unable to comprehend the Mad Monk’s mystical contribution to the project, the final product that ensued had still been labeled as one of the Doctor’s greatest accomplishments.  When activated, the Earthbound World Anchors produced a sudden electrical storm in the vicinity and opened several planer rifts above the church.  The TESLA coils harnessed the phenomenon’s violet energies and unleashed it upon the Akuvskaya Monastery.  The cathedral erupted in a blast of arcane energy reducing it and the surrounding buildings to rubble.  The coils stabilized soon after and remained active ever since.  Tough the experiment appeared to be a total failure, MILOSLAV learned that the trial had in fact produced the desired effect; the monastery was no longer of this world.  The discovery of these facts was detrimental to the Doctor’s health however.  RASPUTIN had his chaplains, the Brothers Three, escort the good Doctor to a secluded building to indulge in the act of cannibalism.  Betrayed and drained of life, MILOSLAV’s last vision was that of a sickly looking Goat bearing an odd lantern.  That being said, both parties came to an agreement, MILOSLAV would deactivate the Earthbound World Anchors and in exchange, the Horde would offer the mad scientist and his family asylum.  In theory, the recalibration procedure was believed to reverse the transposition.  When asked about his missing leg, SHANG-TSUNG pulled the thing out from the Ryukzak and returned the damage construct.  Meanwhile, weakened and pale, MIYUKI had recovered from her recent ordeal and healed the Doctor’s wounds.  Amazed, MILOSLAV deemed the Maiden’s extraordinary powers to be on par with those demonstrated by RASPUTIN.  Still wanting nothing to do with religion, the scientist donned a military uniform to mask his identity and accompanied the Golarian task force.

One by one, the TESLA coiled watchtowers were ascended to perform “routine maintenance”.  SHANG-TSUNG handed over the blueprints beforehand to facilitate the Doctor’s task and supervised his efforts; both to defend him and deter foul play.  The Samurai was told not to interfere however as a false move would result in the death of all atop the tower, not to mention the potential scar the backlash would cause to the Earth.  When the first tower “malfunctioned” the other three compensated to maintain the monastery’s spectral animation.  After powering down towers two and three, the final tower, now generating enough energy to power a small country, was successfully deactivated.  As predicted, the very same phenomenon described by the good Doctor had reoccurred in dramatic fashion; only this time, when lightning struck, sections of the church had been pulled back from RASPUTIN’s pocket dimension between Earth and the First World’s Thrice-Tenth Kingdom.  The cataclysmic event struck fear within the hearts of all Russians present and all opted to make an expeditious retreat, leaving the restored Akuvskaya Monastery more or less uncontested.  Having upheld his end of the bargain, t’was time for the Horde to deliver, RASPUTIN was a dead man.

The mad scientist was suggested to stay out of sights as the Horde confronted those who had responded to the catastrophic failure.  A woman hiding behind a full suite of spiked hide armor, flanked by three large horrendous World-Warped Polar Bears, all stood before the monastery’s front façade in hopes to defend its occupants.  SHANG-TSUNG pulled a Siberian Lion from his Tan Bag of Tricks and ordered his allies to prepare for battle.  Standing well within the projected danger zone was the young hemophiliac ALEXEI ROMANOV, the boy gazing upon the church with his eyes wide open in wonder.  ANASTASIA, the boy’s sister, was close by as well but appeared lost in thought; both took a step back when the ensuing battle began.  An easy victory was forecasted but a slight bump was hit when OTAK entered the monastery’s primary defense mechanism.  Decorated upon the front wall was a crucified Russian soldier, one that suddenly sprung to unlife.  The translucent being approached OTAK, pointed at him from a distance and all watched in horror as the Half-Orc dropped to the ground in a heap.  Suddenly, OTAK’s translucent and drained body took the soldier’s place upon the cross, unable to escape.  To make matter worse, a tear in the space time continuum appeared nearby and a Headless Cossack mounted upon a Nightmarish Steed entered the fray, hovering in mid air out of reach.  Having acquired intelligence about his foes, Commander POLKOVNIK Lavrenti unholstered his firearm with the intent to disable the Samurai’s fire power.  To everyone’s surprise, ALEXEI approached the battlefield, declared his allegiance to his friend Lord RASPUTIN and bathed the Horde in unholy flame.  By the time the smoke cleared, the young boy had been replaced by a mighty Gorynych, a huge three-headed Dragon.  Meanwhile, ANASTASIA screamed in terror having learned of her brother’s true intensions and ran off in a panic.  Whilst both UPANIX and KRUSH faced off with the Bear Hunter and her aberrations, SHANG-TSUNG fired adamantine at the cross hoping it would free his ally; but alas the barbs did nothing but cause insignificant damage to the structure.  POLKOVNIK took three of MIYUKI’s arrows to the chest but managed to fire a single shot at the Samurai and disarmed him.  OTAK failed to escape his bonds and felt his life force fade, but the Half-Orc would be shown mercy as The Crucified Soldier replaced his body with that of SHANG-TSUNG.  With OTAK back in the battle, he, KRUSH and UPANIX continued their assault in the front lines whilst creeping closer towards the Undead menace.  SHANG-TSUNG used every ounce of his resolve and escaped the Soldier’s grasp; meanwhile, the Gorynych RADIMIR used his superior reach and combat reflexes to bite anything and everything within range or moving.  The Paladin pin-cushioned POLKOVNIK but the attack did not prevent the Gunslinger from denying OTAK his skull ram.  With swords in hand, the half breeds found themselves flanking the Soldier after putting a Bear down, a gambit that paid off as OTAK remained conscious after the The Crucified Soldier pointed at him.  SHANG-TSUNG had his Lion fetched his bow and fired a single missile at the evil Undead.  POLKOVNIK retaliated to the threat and sent the Samurai’s bow flying whilst stomaching another round of MIYUKI’s arrows.  RADIMIR breathed fire upon the Archers and reduced the Lion to ashes.  The Bear Hunter charged the Elder but her spear failed to penetrate the Samurai’s Celestial Chained MailOTAK and UPANIX went to work flaying incorporeal flesh whilst KRUSH kept the Dire Bears at bay.  Threatened, The Crucified Soldier pointed to UPANIX and sent him to the ethereal penalty box.  MIYUKI had ZAPPADA fetch SHANG-TSUNG’s bow but the Samurai lost grasp of it again after firing off a round at the Undead soldier.  Annoyed at POLKOVNIK’s gritty utility shots, MIYUKI continued pelting the fast healing Dullahan.  Unharmed, RADIMIR punished all those within reach whilst the Bear Hunter stabbed the Elder in the leg.  After escaping the cross, UPANIX and the others concentrated their efforts on The Crucified Soldier.  When the thing ceased to exist moments later, the wind had turned in the Horde’s favor.  Commander POLKOVNIK was disposed off first, followed by RADIMIR.  Surprisingly enough, the weakest foe endured the longest, but The Bear Hunter stood little chance against her infuriated opponents.

MAIN led the search for valuables and several trinkets had been recovered within the blood-stained battlefield.  ANASTASIA was confronted and threatened for consorting with Dragons; the hysterical girl however declared a plea of innocence clamming she had no idea the boy was malevolent.  Unable to remember anything at all, she couldn’t even confirm she ever had a brother.  The Horde deemed her story genuine and suggested that she reunite with MILOSLAV at the prison’s frontier.  When The Crucified Soldier was exorcised, the cross on the wall had disappeared revealing a set of double doors leading inside the monastery.  When opened, all got the sense that none were welcome, the chambers within consumed by an Unholy Aura.  Admission was forbidden and those who insisted on trespassing would be punished accordingly.  As the Horde entered the nave, their bodies were wracked with pain, MIYUKI however was able to tolerate some of the abjuration‘s effects and suffered less than the others.  SHANG-TSUNG looked to the Paladin and accused her once more to being a fraud and reminded the Maiden that the ice she walked upon was very thin.  After a brief rebuttal, the Horde made themselves familiar with their surroundings.  Dozens of thick wooden pews had been piled at the other end of the transept obscuring the alter beyond, violet arcane energies flashing through the mess.  The same energy lined the walls, windows and all breaches due to structural collapse, rendering all evacuation routes unsafe.  The piercing echoes of squeaking bats complemented the presence of saintly statues of cold white marble perched high above in recessed alcoves, their lifeless eyes streaming blood and their stone faces bathed in dim purple light.  Struggling to stand next to one of the sculptures was an old crone claiming to be none other than BABA YAGA.  Clearly distracted as of late, RASPUTIN’s grasp on his mother had weakened, giving the Queen of Witches a chance to escape. The battle against her son that ensued was hard fought but BABA YAGA had prevailed.  She thanked her selected Horde for heeding her call and insisted they help the old lady back to her Dancing Hut.  Though her tale appeared plausible, her rescue was far too easy, too convenient and downright unfulfilling.  MIYUKI kindly offered her services as a Human crutch but OTAK however, remained unconvinced.  The Half-Orc had BABA YAGA shout out the name of her Hut’s House Spirit to test the Witch’s authenticity, when suddenly, BABA YAGA’s demeanor changed.  Amused with the riddle, SERAFINA, RASPUTIN’s lover in disguise, was more than content in dealing with the Horde here and now.  The Erodaemon looked to the ceiling as thousands of bats swarmed around the Healer.  Meanwhile, SERAFINA unleashed a wave of Crushing Despair and Enervated the Half-Orc for his lack of faith.  Saddened by the charm, both SHANG-TSUNG and OTAK watched helplessly as the bats formed into three vampiric forms around the Paladin, each of them scratching for blood.  Not only did the overwhelmingly evil presence around her cause her pain, MIYUKI’s overwhelming good and humanity had been smitten by The Brothers Three.  Now bloodied and broken, the Maiden looked and cried out to her allies in hopes they’d save her from certain death.
 
CHALLENGE
XP
6 Headless Siberian Cossacks
4800
Dusha Koza; Advanced Lantern Goat
4800-Lv14
Bonus: Revived Viktor Miloslav
9600
Bonus: Returned the Akuvskaya Monastery to Earth
19200
Bonus: Cleared the Prison of all Russian troops
19200
The Crucified Soldier
9600
The Bear Hunter; Human Barbarian 6400
3 World-Warped Polar Bears 2400
Radimir; Gorynych 12800
Polkovnik Lavrenti; Dullahan Gunslinger 9600
Session total
98400
Campaign total
535520

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