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Last Best Hope - A Report by Marius the Magnificent

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23 Cantria, 8974 Ta

Source: Marius' Scribe

To the person who reads this,

Appropriate levels of greeting to you based on your level, plus a little flattery as you clearly are very clever and overlooked by your superiors unfairly.

The report by Marius the Magnificent regarding the excursion into Enchantia for resupplying the hospital and refugee centre.

First let's discuss the Balrog in the room.

There was no Jam Roll.  Despite being promised this, there was not only no Jam Roll but no sweet bakery goods of any type.  I hope that this will be rectified urgently and those responsible ( administrator Barrows ) punished suitably.

Oh yes, and we were told that this was a simple delivery mission but instead we faced Undead hordes and Hepath forces beyond reckoning, but mainly the jam roll thing.

Marius and his hand picked team teleported with supplies into the Enchantian border lands to aid a field hospital and refugee centre. 

Just to assist you, Marius' team comprised of the following:

Broken – a paladin who held our front line and provided most of our healing

Ziggy – our ukulele playing bard and backup healer

the Zygany – three devilishly attired and good looking party members, Tinkles the seer, Brishen the coward and Bibishkina, the dual sword wielding killing machine.

Tenth – a novice water mage, who Marius saw fit to take under his wing.  He can thank Marius later.

Lyra “Silentpaws” Blackthorn – a fearsome warrior and good cub.

Pipsqueak – ah the beautiful Pipsqueak, our bandager extraordinaire, scout exquisite, and dealer of double dagger death.  Her beauty shone like a lantern in the night, her sweet Goblin stench more heady that all the fair perfumes of Arabia...

Our first encounter was with some common cutthroat thieves, we dispatched them and gained our first sight of the hospital where we were greeted with screams and scenes of chaos.  The hospital was filled with bloodied and injured patients, Marius and the others assisted with bandaging up the patients, leaving Marius with a shirt that will never be clean again!  .

Having done the job of the hospital doctors for them, the main orderly (Mr J'amroll Bakerson) thanked us and explained that the area was overrun by undead and hepathic forces.   The hospital was shielded by some device powered by some strange crystals, however these were running low and the shield was failing, so we were tasked to find some more, at the same time a couple of novice fighters who had just had their backsides handed to them dragged in an unconscious priest while they blathered on about a library and some writings about the Hepaths and their weaknesses.  They begged us to rescue these writings for the good of the protectorate, before they fled.  Shortly afterwards Hepaths found the hospital past the failing wards and attacked, but not reckoning on Marius and his band they were roundly defeated, though one managed to flee.

Fearful the head orderly warned us that this Hepath would bring more, we had to find it but also find more crystals, what were we to do?  Marius made the decision to split the party (no risk and get twice the work done).  Marius led the pursuit of the Hepath while the others went rock hunting.

We easily caught the injured fleeing Hepath and slew the creature before returning to aid the others find the shiny things.  They had found them, but they were in the pockets of some arthritic skeletons and zombies and an asthmatic necromancer with a heart defect, at least they were easily laid to rest and the crystals were in our pockets.

Taking them back to the hospital we bolstered the defensive item and settled in for the night.

In the morning we had to take a hard decision.  Documents in our possession spoke of 3 treasures hidden about the area, a code, a key and a box that might help us storm the library.  However the bothersome orderly kept moaning about the hospital being vulnerable to attack, so with consultation of the party, Marius decided to empower the hospital to their own defence and the party sought out the loot, er, vital tools to further the greater war effort.

After dispatching some bandits who attacked the hospital we set off, some misty eyed walkers had sent us information about the location of the treasures so we strode off purposefully into the woods.  Slaying some annoying bandits (why don't the Hepaths and undead even bother them?) and Hepaths we came to a bridge which was was guarded by a powerful Earth Elemental.  This being welded our most precious flower, Pipsqueak, to the ground along with clunky Broken, Marius himself braved the creature to rush past it, and across the bridge he got, before the creature also welded him to the Earth, however while the creature pursued Marius the rest of the party brought the creature to the ground.  Clever and brave Marius for his noble act to endanger himself.

Having slew the guardian we heard that the hospital was under attack from a necromancer raising the dead in the morgue.  While Marius approves of recycling in general we agreed that this was taking things too far, so again we split the party, with Marius leading Pip and Broken onwards while the others cleared up the undead.

Pressing on Marius' small party found a building with two desperate, dishevelled, and starving Enchantians inside.  Staying the others' hands, Marius decided to show pity to these pathetic creatures and in their gratitude to him they offered us their meagre treasures, a pair of swords, some necklaces, and a piece of paper with a code on it, unwittingly they handed us the first of the treasures we were seeking.  Broken for some strange reason insisted that the pair keep the swords to sell for a fair price, seems he's an old softy under all that plate (oh yeah, he's a good Paladin).

Taking the poor souls back to the hospital (where the others had slain the limping aged necromancer and his creaking zombies) we found some information from them, the rumour is that the Enchantian High Command has invited the Hepaths and undead into their land to harry our borders.  Dangerous to us, however also deadly to their own people.  If only we could use this information to persuade their people to come to the safety and care of our noble forces and overthrow their own self serving corrupt leaders, then peace could reign in our time.

After resting we set forth again and met a dangerous red Hepath, a mighty battle and we slew him before some more bandits tried to bar our way, but once Marius shattered and dispersed their big sword they were easy meat for our fighters.

More imps and our handsome horny fellow, Brishen, was badly wounded, needing an elixer to save him, before we met another major Hepath.  The Imp Engaged Marius in a magical dual involving the imp heating Brokens' armour before Marius would dispel it's spell.  Needless to tell you that Marius won this duel.  After this some Zombies and here - near disaster!  They dared to hurt our delicate Pipsqueak, more fool the Zombies as now they will have Marius to deal with!

Eventually we forced our way to another Earth Elemental which had a strange device.  Slaying the being we rejoiced, it had the next item in our quest, the key in a locked box, guarded by a code.

Carrying onwards against the dying light we met some ferocious and powerful undead, four Zombies with the strength of 5 men each.  An epic battle ensued, three of the foul beasts were slain, then alone (with only Broken and Lyra as well) Marius engaged the last beast, blow after blow was given and received, Marius' staff deflecting many a blow that would have killed a lesser man and dealing in return a most fearsome beating that brought the stinking creation to its' knees and finally snuffing out the spark of corrupted life from its' putrid blackened soul.

After that we came to a field with another Earth elemental.  Scattering the party engaged the beast while its' small mind became confused  as it didn't know where to focus its' energies.  Thus we wore the creature down and slew it, and while the other dug out those who had been bound to the earth by the elemental, Marius lifted the last treasure, a locked box, which has been found by Bibishinka and Anoushka.

We needed these items back at the hospital and set off, but we were attacked by a wild beast which brutally injured our seer, only by sacrificing Marius' hat to the brute (which gave it no end of joy as a new toy), did we survive.  Out of elixers and with his sister mortally wounded, Brishen showed rare bravery as he raced to get aid while Pipsqueak used some of her most precious Well Water (see “Marius and the Well of Souls” page 498) to place dearest tinkles into a hibernation state to gain us time for the elixer to arrive.  Oh noble Pipsqueak to use this precious liquid gained at great cost by our most diminutive adventurers!

Elixer delivered we hurried back to the hospital Marius bent his unequalled intellect to the task of deciphering the code, leading us to the code to unlock the Cyphex containing the key, before using the key to open at last the strong-box, which contained some gems, potion bottle, scrolls and a pair of swords.

One of the scrolls helped us to identify these items, an anti-magic shell and banish spell contained in a pair of gems, a scroll of mass-slow, two swords of volcano blade, a potion on invisibility, and the Enchantians' gift which turned out to be a pair of necklaces of Endurance.

With these items we felt emboldened to gain entry to the library.  Sneaking out in the darkness we overheard the Hepath leader tell them that the vanguard had done their job and the path was ready for the next stage.  However then we were spotted and he ordered them to attack us, how we had been seen remains a mystery, Marius suspects they somehow sensed the otherworldy Zygany, although Ziggy sneaking with a lit lantern while playing his zitar may also have contributed.

These creatures attacked us with the power of 8 men, and so to save the others Marius led the retreat up towards the sanctuary of the hospital, but the items guarded here were vital to the war effort so instead of finding safety, a new plan was hatched, a daring and borderline insane plan, but could we find someone foolish enough to carry it out?  YES WE COULD!

Gullible Brave Lyra took the invisibility potion and snuck into the enemies midst, moving amongst them with the silence of a stealthy panther and the nerves of a brave wolf to pilfer the writings that the powerful Hepaths had been guarding, with great care removing six precious scrolls into her paws from under the noses of the most powerful beings who would have torn her to shreds should she betray her presence with the slightest cough or misstep.  But she did not fail and a great cry of anguish rent forth when they discovered the missing papers, but by then Lyra was clear of the library and, although we knew the morning would bring new dangers, we reached the hospital where we rested, exhausted, although not before one last attack by the zombies which Marius repelled (with a little help from my friends) before we settled down to the tale of Lyra silentpaws and her great daring deed.

In the morning the orderly announced that the hospital was to be evacuated, dear brave Broken went in the vanguard to lead the way while the rest of the party brought up the rear, accompanied by an air wizard called “Boom-Boom” Dave.  Dave was to teleport us out to safety and he led us the the circle, but alas too late, the Hepaths lay in wait for us and despite our ferocious efforts to save him, poor Boom-Boom was slain by the fiends, snatched from our very midst by a green Hepath who blinked into our ranks, seized Dave and blinked out, taking him into their mob where he was dragged to the floor and, I'm sad to say blubbering like a baby, he was slain despite Tenths' great idea to use the banishment on him to take him from their clutches, sadly they had the power to dispel the banishment.

Luckily we had a backup teleport portal and a scroll of teleport.  Racing ahead of the pursuing Hepaths we reached the ring and Tenth fumbled out the scroll, entrusting to this novice our entire mission the remainder of the party prepared to defend him against the Hepath.  He started to read out the scroll, nerves wobbling his voice, terror in his eyes but he did not stutter or fumble his words.  Would there be time though, the Hepath strode closer.  5 paces away, 4, 3, 2...we raised our weapons as they readied theirs, our shields and blades suddenly seeming to be flimsy defence against their bone-breaking and limb-severing blows.

They reached the edge of the circle and started to strike but at that moment Tenths' voice called forth the last syllable of the invocation and the Hepaths screamed in frustration as their weapons shattered naught but the ground while the teleport brought us to the Protectorate and safety, alas not to a patisserie, but to Auxillary HQ and our debrief with the evil Administrator Barrows and the missing Jam Roll.

An adventure with great courage from many, daring deeds from all and the less said about Ziggy and the helicopter, the better.

This information will be most useful to the war effort,

Yours etc, etc.

Marius the Magnificent, Zombie Slayer.