Shifting back and forth in the background forever seeming both near and far, the Bogeyman’s voice rang with a clarity over the clanging buzzing machines in the Tent of Modern Wonders. The creature spoke with a low Aundairian slang to it, talking about all the people they’ve ‘helped’ through the exhibit so far.
A small collection of trees were periodically placed throughout the tent for demonstrations and before their eyes two of them shifted into leaf-covered elf like creatures that were identified as a type of malicious Fey – Grimstalkers! Two more dropped from the ceiling of the tent to try and surround our heroes as they frantically tried to rally not only to fend off their attackers, but to save the helpless people here including none other than Roberta Catherine Evered d’Lyrandar.
Septim Garess was quickly handed a flower and asked to drink up – he was parched after waiting in line so long after all – and quickly regretted his decision. Before he could even react to the situation however, a small marble bounced out of the darkness and exploded in a ball of force, catching Septim, Sydney and Valerie inside a 10 ft by 10 ft bubble. Valerie could only watch helplessly as her sister continued on the conveyer belt towards the giant buzzsaw…
Korin leapt into action with his mighty axe, slicing into the gears and wires but not managing to sever it completely…one more strike would do it. Cassie, Tarvis, and Mikmek began fighting off the Grimstalkers while Lissa found a place to hide. Right as one of the evil fey moved forward, with poison dripping from its claws a great skeletal hand punched through the top of the tent and grabbed the creature – pulling it outside with a scream followed by multiple slamming noises and then silence, followed by the chortles of Mr. Raconteur still outside.
One by one the Grimstalkers were either pulled outside or cut down by our heroes. As Korin hefted his axe once more to sever the conveyer belt however, he found his body frozen in place from a Hold Person by the Bogeyman. The trickster fey compounded this with a sense of Crushing Despair and a natural aura of fear that spread from the psychopathic child stalker. Cassie managed to free Valerie, Sydney, and Septim with a concentrated Dispel Magic. Valerie leapt upon the conveyer belt in a flash cutting furiously at the ropes keeping Roberta bound…and moments before she would have been cut to pieces by the buzzsaw a furious Septim leapt over Korin’s back and finished smashing the conveyer belt into pieces with a an angry cry “I HATE CARNIVALS!”
The tiny blur that had been making a nuisance of itself the entire fray finally materialized upon Korin’s shoulder. Barely a foot tall the tiny fey, revealed to be a Quickling, wielded a vicious looking knife and prepared to slit Korin’s throat open, without realizing that Korin had finally overcome his Hold Person…which led to the unfortunate ending of the fanciful fey as he was tossed off of Korin’s shoulder and promptly cut in half.
With all of the small fry removed from the fray, it was finally time for the Bogeyman himself to take care of things. Tarvis clashed with the creature landing a solid blow as Valerie moved into a flanking position. Feinting with a sleight of hand trick the Bogeyman’s claws dug deep into Valerie as he taunted her. “Here I was hopin’ you’d get to see your sister get all chopped up into pieces…I wanted to see the delicious look on your face, and hope I could find that small part of you that really wanted it to happen. Ah well, I’ll have to get to her after I cut you up.”
The Bogeyman was one of the most deadly opponents our heroes had yet faced, even with Bastion calling upon his divine gifts to shield others from harm his strikes stabbed into organs, and with a gleeful smile he stared into Valerie’s eyes and forced her to relive her own nightmares over and over until her heart suddenly gave out. The leader of the country dropped to the ground in slow motion as everyone froze for a moment. Was she dead? The ruler of Valdrik?
The Bogeyman pulled an icicle shard from his jacket pocket wrapped like a cigar, striking a small flame at the end of his fingertips to light it in celebration of his first kill during the battle, turning to face Tarvis while holding out a golden ticket with “Tarvis d’Lyrandar” written on it. “I believe I asked you to wait for your turn mate…well good news it looks like there’s been a sudden opening.”
Bastion pulled Valerie away from the fray and over to Cassie, a concerned look on the warforged companion’s face…Cassie quickly checked…her pulse was faint but there…and she began administering healing spells.
With Korin finally free he rushed to take Valerie’s place, and despite Tarvis being worried about falling next to this creature he stood his ground. With a final blow the Bogeyman was reduced to fraying clothes and dust in the wind…
The rest of the machines in the tent were disabled as our heroes gathered their wits.
The people here were saved for now. Valerie was alive, Roberta was alive. Septim and Mikmek offered to stay behind to keep an eye on the place.
With the second Witch Shard in their possession and the last of the twisted amusements destroyed the Cold Rider would be making his appearance to end all of this once and for all.
Our heroes quickly rushed back to the wagon of Namdrin Quinn, returning his wife to him as the second shard was broken. Namdrin wept over the form of his sleeping wife… “I know I cannot undue what happened here…I will accept whatever punishment you deem fit…in addition to whatever House Phiarlan will do to me. But for now…now we must end this.”
The fog and sleet swirled and gathered like a slow whirlwind above the frozen lake. A large rider upon a dead stag strode forth from the maelstrom, a shining glaive of ice within his grasp. Other fey, pixies, and brownies were gathering behind the rider as if entering from the eye of the storm itself.
Korin called out the rider with a challenge. It was time to end this! Bring it on ya undead bastard! (Korin’s player handed me the Plot Twist Card – Wrath calling on the Rider’s anger to get the better of him and change his tactics).
The Rider charged and landed a strong blow against Korin, but after the many horrors of the evening this seemed small in comparison. Our heroes had defeated every horror, freed those who had been chained from helping, and with no powerful allies left for the Rider to call upon victory for our heroes was all but assured. The ghostly spirit of a powerful man with a horribly scarred face pulled itself out from the back of the Cold Rider, calling forth an ethereal bow and arrow and firing into Korin’s chest. “You…I remember you…this time…I will avenge my Queen!” the ghost cried out. Unfortunately it’s declaration of vengeance was cut short as Korin’s axe and Tarvis’ staff struck the Cold Rider down in mere moments.
The animated object of the Titan’s Wheel windmill blades (courtesy of Mr. Raconteur) made short work of any remaining allies of the Rider.
The events of this terrible evening have now come to a close…what remains is the aftermath. How many lost their lives? How many were wounded? Can Valdrik survive such a blow to the spirit of their kingdom?
These questions will be answered in time…but for now, what of our other heroes? Let us rewind the clock of the evening back before the horror began to the banks of the Tuskwater Lake to begin another tale…
Next time on Kingmaker, the Realm of the Fellnight Queen.