Silt Striders of Balic

The Oba No More

Rikard finds himself in the streets of Gulg, hiding out after a botched plan in the city square. Hiding behind a rain barrel as the child soldiers of the Oba spill out in to the streets, he thinks about what led him to this moment…

Priscilla and Moon are led to a gallows with black bags over their heads, their path weaving throughout the city so they can be paraded about for the Oba’s citizens. Arriving to the gallows, the executioner gives a nod to two hidden figures hiding amidst the rooftops. The fallen angel Tomm and Vorelixen’s spy Tarin begin moving in to position. Wielding a Bloodstone axe as the would-be tool to end Moon and Priscilla, Rikard reveals himself to be the executioner and with a swift motion whirls the weapon towards a collision course with the Oba’s head. Attuned to her and bound to her magics, the axe stops short hovering in the air before it clatters to the ground, ruining Rikard’s initial attempt on her life. Stunned and drugged, Moon and Priscilla attempt to make their escape aided by a distraction caused by Tomm and Tarin. The city square becomes armageddon as Tarin’s bottled poisons fill the street, knocking out some and fatally wounding others as the group attempts to break free of the Oba and her soldiers.

Among the most harried is Tarin, who as part of the plan had splashed some of Vorelixen’s tainted blood in to the Oba’s consectrated ritual blood bucket. Enraged, the Oba’s forces pursued her through a series of homes and tunnels, eventually cornering her at the end of a precipice. Realizing she’s caught, and more importantly that her oilskin has been torn in the skirmish, she closes her eyes and strikes a flame which ignites the wall of soldiers and launches her off the precipice. With divine precision, Tomm swoops in and rescues her unconscious body before she can be killed from the fall.

Escaping to regroup and lick their wounds, Rikard heads to the former lair of Thorin Bloodstone which he finds in complete shambles. Its floors are littered with the bodies of Oba soldiers, overcoming the countless traps by sheer brute force. Portals throughout the lair leave it disjointed, as their destinations have been altered by the crushing force of the Far Realm.

Eventually, another plan is hatched and the group heads back in to the city by aid of Rikard’s rituals. They infiltrate the Oba’s personal gardens, where Rikard has been laying traps for over a decade. While the rest of the group fights a guerilla war against the Sorcerer Queen’s army, Rikard and the Oba meet in single combat. While the Oba is the more powerful of the two, Rikard’s traps come to fruition in the form of deadly plants collected from all throughout creation, ranging from devilnettle in the Malebolge to the pines of Lutherna, works of druidic magic from Dorean, and even the Pride of Balic where it all started. In her rage, the Oba unleashes and enormous torrent of destructive energies, but Rikard is able to evade it. Instead, it cracks the trunk of a Lutherna pine which comes crashing down atop her, pinning her to the ground and leaving her at Rikard’s mercy. Her punishment is death, carried out by the mul who’s harried her for so long. In her dying breaths, she muses that the other sorcerer kings had already gone to Ur-Draxa to rise the dragon, to overcome her power.

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Kowal

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