Week TwelveDecember 4th, 1997
Avg. Rating: 3.5
Festival of Greengrass, Year of the Shield
The party, and many others, had been attending the funeral of Olaf and Minya Bjornson when a large creature burrowed up from beneath the ground, followed immediately by a volley of arrows fired from ambush. Fifty Shieldbreaker men-at-arms flooded the area, attacking mourners whether armed or not.
Gregory leaped upon the creature's back, striking with his dagger, while Juliet hacked at the monster's armor plated torso. It didn't survive for long, and the two of them moved on to other opponents. Tristan spent most of the battle healing those he could, comforting those he could not, and even Kelly took out a few Shieldbreakers with her dagger. Erik charged the enemy ranks, fighting hard for victory, while the other armed mourners, including Lord Piergeiron, waded into the oncoming foot soldiers.
The battle raged, and it quickly became apparent that Lord Piergeiron was in danger of being killed or captured; Sivantri, Piergeiron's new court mage, flew the two of them away and back to the castle.
Juliet and Kelly then noticed something odd about Olaf's coffin, namely that it was rocking from side to side and someone was pounding to be let out. Juliet opened it, only to be attacked by Olaf. His skin was a grey pallor, his eyes completely black, but it was clearly Olaf Bjornson. He ignored Juliet and Kelly, and all others, and marched straight for Einor. Only a warning from Kelly saved him from ambush.
While Juliet laid open any Shieldbreakers foolish enough to come near, Kelly concentrated all of her will and managed to set Olaf's corpse on fire with magic. The thing burned quickly, and was soon nothing more than a small pile of ash.
Gregory, meanwhile, continued toying with those Shieldbreakers he came into contact with, easily avoiding their clumsy attacks, until one lucky blow to the head got through his guard. He fell briefly into unconsciousness, until tended to by Tristan.
The battle eventually ended, leaving behind a large field of corpses, not only Shieldbreakers but also men, women, and children from the city, whose only crime had been to come and mourn the passing of the Bjornsons. As the party prepared to leave, Talyth and Kelly returned Olaf's ashes to his coffin, refilled its bowl, and finally placed him at rest next to Minya.
Before leaving the battlefield, the party spoke with Gregory and Tristan, who had helped them during the battle. Since most of the city seemed to have succumbed to madness, the party felt it important for those who were still unaffected to stick together, for mutual protection and support. Gregory, who had quickly developed a liking towards Juliet anyway, agreed; Tristan, though originally reluctant to leave the temple of Tymora where he'd been staying, agreed to stay with the party when he learned that his room had been given away by Calishara.
Everyone eventually returned to the Stone Hearth, spending some time drinking together and getting to know a little more about one another. Juliet asked Tristan if he could find out anything about the runes on her sword, which he agreed to do. Juliet's back then began to itch, intensely, almost painfully. Gregory, scratching her back, noticed blood on his hands...when he lifted up the back of her shirt Talyth dropped his mug of ale. There, on Juliet's back, was a large symbol, apparently cut right into the flesh. The symbol was a claw, surrounded by a circle.
The battle began...