|Previous: Siege of Tirisfal|
|Next: A Purple Parlor|
|Conflict: Blood War|
|Place: Grymmtide's Hollow, Drustvar, Kul Tiras|
|Outcome: Tactical Blades Victory; Grandmatron Escaped, Castle secured|
|Commanders and Leaders:|
|Casualties and Losses:|
Grymm Tidings is the informal name for the operation undertaken by the Blades of Greymane to gain the aid of the Thornspeaker group known as The Willowborne, who are based primarily out of the island of Grymmtide's Hollow.
The unique magics that the Willowborne wield have proven to be deadly against their foes, in particular, theorized especially against the Undead. As a result, the order set out for the island of Grymmtide's Hollow with the goals of aiding them with their local issues, so they might be willing to aid the Kingdom of Gilneas in their coming conflicts.
- 1 First Phase
- 2 Second Phase
Day One: Dustwash Harbor
With aid from Coralie Laffitte, the Blades landed on the island of Grymmtide's Hollow and were granted access to the main hub of Dustwash Harbor, despite their ban on mainlanders. Upon arrival, it was clear the islanders were skittish to newcomers, due to the amount of hostility or otherwise negative opinion towards the Blades on their arrival. Coralie, unfortunately, was not of much use in Drustvar as she self admitted; holding more sway in Stormsong and Tiragarde, and departed shortly after the Blades were safely situated.
Upon meeting with the townsfolk, they were pointed in the direction of the only member of the Willowborne in town, a portly man later revealed to be none-other-than Crasten Nathair, Aleyina Nathair's uncle with whom the Blades had mixed previous encounters with. While this initially soured their persuasion to have Crasten act as their envoy for the Willowborne, Crasten relented and gave the Blades a simple task: to gather reagents for him that he needed for the Willowborne's rituals.
The list was as follows:
Ten wolf skulls, skinned and bleached.
A bottle of pickled raven talons.
Tree sap from the Crimson Forest.
A pallette of uncut stone from Tiragarde.
Powdered Bear, unenchanted
“Hag’s Blood” liquor.
While seemingly non-nonsensical at first, the Blades did as instructed and managed to procure each of the items; performing a myriad of tasks for the locals in the process. By the end of the night, Crasten had all of his materials; albeit he admitted most of them could have simply been purchased from the dock-trade stalls.
While slightly disheartened by such news, the fact that the Blades had gone through the arduous trials they had loosened Crasten's discomfort towards them, causing him to agree to be their guide after a period of rest, and to ensure that a caravan could bring the various supplies with them to their next location. He informed them that their next task, before they could speak to the Willowborne, would be to locate a missing Thornspeaker of the order by the name of Florentus; a former student of Crasten's.
Day Two: Baleor's Crossing
Arriving at the Crossing; the Blades quickly realized that things were starting to fall apart in terms of the island's communities. As Crasten explained; the farming community was suffering from heightened abductions. While abduction every few months or so was not uncommon; usually able to be explained away one way or another, over ten farm hands had gone missing as of late, with the most recent being found brutally murdered. Splitting into teams, the Blades questioned the townsfolk of the farming community; hoping to find some answers.
Scanning through the tavern, one of the teams managed to find out that there were deadly women in the woods lurking about; attempting to seduce men into the forest only to slaughter them. Further investigation showed that research on the ancient Drust legends had also grown in popularity, with the most recent death having impacted the community significantly. Revealed to have been an eight year old boy that was slain, rather than a grown farmer, paranoia was starting to wreak havoc over the community because of the gruesome nature of the child's death, being his dismemberment and the absence of his heart amongst the remains.
At the market, the Blades had also found that some were unwilling to remain active in the community. Several farmers were selling their entire crop yield at a premium; attempting to get whatever money they could get and head for Dustwash as soon as possible. In addition, even amongst those staying in the area, they refused to travel east; preferring to remain towards the western half of the rivers.
The final investigation team at the workshop of the Crossing's town center found much the same in terms of paranoia. The militiamen were hostile to the Blades immediately, refusing to answer any questions before departing after the group continued to badger them. Investigation by way of questioning the Town Guard revealed they had been dispatched by Crasten previously to locate Florentus, but failed; having lost one of their tracking hounds in the process. As a result, with pride wounded, they did not want their mission to be completed by foreigners. It had also been noted that the local blacksmiths were beginning to sell weapons made of Silver; a material known to disrupt the magic of the Witches of Drustvar.
After regrouping, it was found that all signs pointed towards the Second Tear, the second river of the three rivers of Athair's Tears. At its apex, it led into a wooded lake area; previously said to have been a popular destination before the abductions began. Florentus' last known where-abouts were in the region, and as such, the Blades departed for the area with Crasten in tow. Upon arriving at the lake, it was found that Florentus indeed had been nearby; as one of the abandoned cabins held several of his belongings. Scouring the area, the Blades found the site of a battle, between what appeared to be the Coven and an unknown foe. While initially questioning if it could have been the Willowborne, Crasten stated that only he and Florentus were in this area at the time, and it was impossible. Continued investigation of the region revealed barking in the distance, which led the group to the lost tracking hound whom had picked up the scent of Florentus. Cornered by the hound was a lone hag, who invoked her magic to re-summon her effigy-warriors. However, as the Blades soon realized, these effigy-warriors had been felled prior by the unknown force from the earlier battle.
Easily dispatched, the Blades rummaged through the hag's belongings. Amongst them they discovered a pendant belonging to Florentus, blood upon it with the Willowborne sigil, as well as a journal belonging to a Horde soldier. Flipping through the book, it was found that the Horde had made landing upon the isle, but were being progressively forced out by unknown forces in the woods. Happening upon a ritual of sacrifice, the journal detailed the failed sacrifice of a portly druid, and that his body had been discarded into the water in the ensuing chaos. Instructed to take the Thornspeaker's body with them, the Horde appeared to have taken Florentus and slaughtered the majority of the coven's forces in the region before being forced to retreat. Now knowing that the battle had been between the coven and the Horde; Crasten sought to seek out Florentus, to see if he had truly fallen or not.
Withdrawing back to Dustwash, the Blades left Crasten to his search for the next few days while they regrouped. The presence of Horde on the island was troubling; doubly so now that their continued presence was speculative. Regardless, the Blades persisted on their mission to recruit the Willowborne, no matter what dangers lurked ahead.
Day Three: Into the Castle
Meeting outside of Grymmtide's Stand, the Blades regrouped with Crasten as he was questioned on the where-abouts of the remaining Willowborne. There he revealed that he and Florentus were the only Willowborne who were still freely roaming the island. One contingent of the order had been sent to Deadvale; to attempt at convincing the otherwise unruly settlement to allow the Willowborne access into their township, while the other had headed up into the castle of Grymmtide's Stand, with the Willowborne's leader.
While initial information on this was ill received, some even claiming Crasten had deceived the group, the man corrected the group that they had never asked, and he had been hoping the rest of his kind would have returned. With no other option, the Blades and Crasten descended into the castle.
Upon entry into the castle, a heavy fog blanketed the group, preventing them from seeing, and eventually the entire group found themselves in the bowels of the castle sewers. With none of their magic working as well, the group had also noticed that Crasten had disappeared. To make mattes worse, the group had also been beset by strange shadow figures that tormented the group. When latching onto one of the party, it beset them of visions of their greatest fear, or tormenting visions of their past, feeding on the energy before turning them into children.
While beset by these creatures, the group was joined by a lone girl by the name of Kayle Grymmtide; who claimed to have been surviving in the halls of the abandoned castle for years. With Kayle's aid, the Blades scaled upwards, though the girl warned that continuing forwards was ill advised, and she lacked much faith in their ability to do so. After elongated conversation with Kayle, it was found that the group had somehow been teleported into the Drust realm of Thros.
While in this shadow version of the world, Kayle explained that the shadows hunted and fed upon those who came in, draining their fears and will until they were but husks or servants. The castle's dungeons, filled with prisoners from an older time, had suffered such a fate. Battling their way through the prisoners, the Blades suffered a large portion of their party turning into children; though ultimately were victorious, and scaled the keep to find a hag named Matilda channeling a spell that was part of the reason they were trapped in Thros.
Battling Matilda, Kayle was shocked to find the woman was actually her mother; who claimed that Kayle's grandmother was behind the castle's turning, and that Kayle needed to join them for a final ritual. Refusing, the Blades slew Matilda; loosening the grip that Thros held over the castle, and allowing Crasten to finally find the group. Having been standing outside the entire time, unphased by the mist, Crasten entered into the area unharmed. With Matilda's death, the youth-spell had also lessened, returning the Blades towards an older age, though not precise in many cases.
Kayle revealed to be an adult as they were, the group rested within the prison-chamber, which was now cleared of foes, before readying themselves to continue forth.
Day Four: The Willowborne
As the group continued to scale the castle, after passing back into Thros, they came upon the makeshift Willowborne half-way point; a hallway purged of the power of the witches by way of magical wards using the same magic. Led by Randulf Wolfsbane, the Willowborne's Leader, the group finally met with the organization they'd been seeking the entire time.
Unfortunately, Wolfsbane had been injured, and the Willowborne forced to retreat just as they'd trapped a matron. Leading the Blades forth, the Blades confronted Agatha, the second matron hag within the castle; who was also Kayle's aunt. Aging the Blades significantly, similar to her sister's technique, the matron flooded the halls with construct creatures until Kayle was able to open one of the side gates, allowing the Blades to by-pass them and face the hag directly.
The group brawled with the Matron and her magics, alongside the Willowborne and Wolfsbane, who was targeted by the matron's spells as she attempted to rip the souls of the group out; using Randulf as her spell focus. Guarding Crasten as he picked up one of the final wards that Randulf had, the group protected him as he powered the ward fully; reverting the matron's form to that of a normal human. From there, once freed, Randulf stabbed her through the throat; ending Agatha's threat.
Even with Agatha dead, however, Thros did not fully retreat as it had previously, necessitating the Willowborne to manually remove the aging curse from the Blades. Having survived Agatha's attack, Wolfsbane deduced that there must've been another hag, to which Kayle cooroborated; stating that Agatha had a twin named Sylvia. Despite her hopes that Sylvia had not turned, Kayle had stated it could be no one else.
Resting within the chambers, which was also stocked with supplies, the Blades and Willowborne finally had a moment's respite as they prepared for their next trek upwards.
Day Five: The Twin
Gathering within the cleared out living quarters of the castle, the Blades assessed their position while they awaited Kayle and the Willowborne. Arriving alone, Kayle explained to the group that the coming hag was her aunt, Sylvia, twin to Agatha. She'd always found her aunt loving, and was shocked to have found her as part of the cult.
When questioned on the nature of the coven, Kayle revealed she was not as blind to it as she initially stated. Having been a part of the coven, Kayle's grandmother had been consorting with a strange magic to rise their branch of the family above others. This magic was responsible for killing several would-be lord Grymmtides, then placing their family at the head. While Kayle was mostly content to follow along at first, the increasing death toll weighed heavily on her, especially when servants began to be slaughtered; passing far beyond just politics.
Having researched her grandmother's incantations, Kayle found that she was attempting to open a rift to another plane, Thros, through the castle as a conduit and pull the entire island into the realm to allow for the Drust to flourish off the denizens of the isle's souls. Horrified, she attempted to get the ritual to stop, but it was too late for all but her. Taking a blade, she plunged it into her grandmother's heart, her death having been intended for the end of the incantation. As it was incomplete, it thrust Grymmtide's Stand into the realm of Thros, and started the nightmare that was overtaking the place.
Forgiving Kayle, stating she was ignorant and had turned to the better path, the Blades allowed her to continue with them, stating she would find her penance in freeing the castle, its denizens, and hopefully leading her people when it was done. Moving with Kayle upwards, the group found Crasten and Randulf unable to progress past the ramparts of the castle; as Sylvia had summoned forth strong gale winds to knock anyone off the ledges who dared.
Taking special wards, the Blades moved forth through the storm as Randulf and Crasten channeled their magic to ward away the winds; though several were still knocked off. Consumed, viscerally, by the shadows that loomed beneath the castles; it appeared their allies were slain and their souls put into wooden wicker men. Using his magic, Randulf managed to free the hold the witch had placed on the wickermen, but the Blades had to fight for control internally as their souls were compelled to kill their allies. Rampart by rampart, the winds were warded off and the storm-rails raised to prevent more catastrophe as the Blades defeated the hexthralled guardsmen and their constructs.
Reaching the apex of the ramparts, the Blades found Sylvia alone in the room, suspended above her countless bodies of those she had used in her rituals; also revealing those who had fallen off the ledges to not have been slain as previously believed. Surrendering to the Blades, she claimed it was a lost cause. The entire group assured it was a trap, Roderick Gallowood moved forth to execute the witch, against the wishes of some in the party, and was possessed. Forced to battle the man's body, the Blades began to climb the rafters to bring the suspended bodies down. After several were brought down, the magic was unwound, and the possession undone as one of the Wickermen forcibly sucked in the Witch's soul from Gallowood's body, undoing the possession entirely. Slaying her, Thros' hold over the castle waned once more, only the apex of the castle being held still by the coven, where Kayle's grandmother awaited them.
Day Six: The Apex
After a brief meeting with Kayle in the heart of the castle, the group rose through the now calmed ramparts up to the apex of the citadel. There, Crasten and an injured Randulf met with them. With Randulf unable to help, due to the growing severity of his pre-existing injuries, and Crasten remaining to ensure nothing bad would happen, the Blades moved in through the fog to face the Grandmatron Myrtle with only Kayle as their aid.
Once the group entered, the apex of the citadel was covered in a lush grove. A lone woman sat, beautiful though bare with long flowing black hair. She began to entice members of the Blades over using her magic, starting with Aleyina and Berenal. Quickly, she entranced a fair number of the Blades before they began to advance on her to stop her. The grass, however, was enchanted with vicious shadows that attempted to throw those who treaded upon it into a jail. Several Blades were trapped within root jails, with Aria Corbeau eventually finally reaching towards the witch before she was entranced at the very apex of reaching the Grandmatron.
Cedrec Delcarn continued forth through the grass as Aria was entranced, leading to him facing off against Sir Thunder, a conjured knight that had entranced Delcarn's lover, Tabitha Chipperwing. Defeating him and breaking the trance on Tabitha, Cedrec was embraced and kissed by the Grandmatron in a final attempt to convert him, though he succeeded in impaling the hag upon his blade. Upon doing so, the illusion crumbled, leading to a brutal face off between the bewitched Blades members and those who had kept their sanity in a rapidly decaying garden as Kayle channeled forth Drust magic to over power her grandmother.
After the fighting had subsided, the two sides were evenly matched until the death knight Illiaster Orren was converted by the Witch. In that moment, Aria Corbeau was also freed from her control, and the two dueled to see who could disrupt the other side's spell. Unfortunately, Aria was defeated by the entranced Orren, who caused Kayle's spell to misfire, and allowed the Grandmatron to flee.
Freeing the castle from Thros once and for all, Crasten and Randulf ran to see what had happened, though they were sorrowfully informed that the Grandmatron had escaped. Infuriated that they had been denied despite coming so close to killing their hated foe, Randulf stormed off; full of doubt over the Blades' worth. Kayle, heart broken that she could not free the trance that her relatives were under because the Grandmatron still lived, begged the Blades to continue aiding the isle. Re-assured, the woman dejectedly pledged the House and the castle to the Blades' cause on Kul Tiras. At the same time, Khloros Darkwatcher managed to convince Crasten to continue aiding them, and to speak with Randulf to get him to be less angered towards the Blades.
While successful in claiming the castle and freeing it from Thros, the Blades failed to complete their mission fully, and have left doubt in the Willowborne's minds.
Gallery: First Part of the Event
Day One: Deavale Arrival
After having been informed by Kayle that there was to be a wedding in Deadvale, involving Randulf and the mysterious Governess of the town, Christine Mourningrose, the Blades arrived to attend in hopes of winning back over Randulf, as well as meeting this mysterious woman who had managed to take a third of the island under her command.
Arriving without armor, and forfeiting weapons, as well as wearing bracelets that dampened magic; the Blades entered into the township sans any sort of defenses beyond their own two hands and numbers. Regardless of this, all seemed well as a celebration had begun on a frozen bone within Deadvale's township; hosted by the governess herself. There, she announced to the town her marriage to the leader of the Willowborne, which was met with mixed response. After calming her people, she explained this would be for the benefit of them all, and the party began.
Immediately, suspicions arose, as the people of the township seemed utterly devoted to the Governess in nearly all aspects; going as far as to practically worship her. The township's party, however, was to be used for the Blades to get in good with the Governess' council; as Randulf was still irate at the group for letting the Grandmatron escape.
Meeting with various members of the council, all signified by feather-down cloaks they all bore, the group split up to work with as many council members as possible.
Lord Reginald Buxiford the Fourth, a courtier and minor noble of Drustvar; formerly an adviser to the Grymmtide family who came to Deadvale after the disappearance of the family to aid the Governess. A boisterous man with loud, bombastic movements that matched his rather portly stature.
John and Ron Kingston, owners of Kingston Forestry; the two were identical twins that wore matching outfits and held rather snooty personalities. They were condescending towards both Randulf and the Blades.
Tarla, Tiffany and Beth Ultson, daughters of Norman Ultson, the main adviser to the Governess. Three young girls who were only interested in partying and debauchery when their father wasn't looking; and he was, fortunately for them, not at the party due to business.
Alyana Penhart, the village sorceress and designer of the bracelets that dampened magic. She served as magical counsel for the Governess and spoke very highly of her, she seemed interested in the Blades.
After working over each group, to varying levels of success, it had been found that the town owed all of its prosperity to the Governess. When questioned on this, vague answers were all that the townsfolk could give as to how she managed such things, while still maintaining an exceedingly lavish lifestyle. In addition, Kayle was having a hard time remembering anything of Deadvale, a town she'd visited numerous times prior, other than the Governess herself, and many of the townsfolk seemed to have very low opinions of the Willowborne; with the Kingston twins going as far as to state that they hoped Randulf would die soon after the wedding.
Suspicions at an all time high, the Blades resolved to confront Randulf about this, as many began to believe that the Governess had underhanded means afoot.
Day Two: Deadvale Derby
In the day that followed, the Blades met up at another party, a Derby, being hosted by the Governess, this time, at her own home, Mourningrose Manor. While once more still suspicious, the group confronted Randulf with the information they'd found.
Randulf was not pleased. Annoyed that the Blades were snooping around his bride-to-be, and that they did not trust his judgement, he told them that they had already caused enough of a mess with the Grandmatron and not to muck this up as well. Warning them that he would cut any and all ties with them if they were to ruin the wedding, Randulf stormed off. Crasten proceeded to question the Blades for why they would think this would be a good idea, but Kayle supported their claim, stating there was an overwhelming amount of suspicious activity.
While still wary of this, Crasten eventually relented when the idea was posed that it may not be Christine herself plotting something, but perhaps one of her advisors; especially after the deathwishes towards Randulf. Kayle proposed to use the derby as a distraction to not only win over more Blades support, but also to infiltrate the Manor and find anything that might absolve, or incriminate, the Governess.
Just before the groups could split, however, the Governess herself approached the Blades. She made it aware to them that she had been informed that they had been questioning her councilors about her, and stated if they were curious about her, they could merely just talk to her herself, instead of snooping around. While Kayle was worried this would lead to problems, the Governess dismissed this idea, stating she was not mad, simply confused. She departed from the group shortly there-after, as the Blades followed the main procession. There, she gave a small welcoming speech to the assorted gatherings of people at the manor's garden party, tapping a silver spoon upon a glass while looking at the Blades. Welcoming them all to her home, the procession dismissed, and the Blades began their plan.
Splitting into two teams, one team accompanied Lord Buxiford who was the manager of the Derby, while another headed back up to the garden party in the manor. Buxiford explained that the Derby would be an excellent way to show their skills, and that he had been impressed with the Blades due to the efforts of Siracco Karanes, who had unwittingly managed to win over Lord Buxiford the night prior. Taking part in the Derby, the group performed well, for the most part, finding various methods of sabotage laid upon them. This included a mentally impaired horse, and a donkey being provided to Tabitha Chipperwing, instead of an actual horse.
Meanwhile at the Garden Party, the Blades continued their efforts of spying. After having found out that only VIPs, denoted by a corsage on their vest of varying colors, could enter into the manor it's self, Aria Corbeau and Leilliah Julien endeavored to win over the attention of one of the noblemen bearing such a corsage, while Wyard Thorne and Aeliren Chesterhill began to question the people present, namely, Aeliren keyed in on Norman Ultsman, who was now present rather than absent as he had been the evening prior. Throughout this, Jendrick Acton had infiltrated into the servant's quarters, where they were preparing the meals for the event.
Back at the Derby, after Jack Oathbourne was nearly thrown from his horse hitting a target; still shattering it regardless, it was revealed that several of the targets had been filled with metal; making them unsafe to lance. Halting the Derby, Lord Buxiford pulled the Blades to the side, asking them to help him with discovering the culprit. All hands began to point towards the Kingston twins, who were known to dislike the Blades. However, despite this, the idea was quickly dismissed under the assumption that it was too obviously the Kingston twins, as the evidence against them was very poorly hidden, and Lord Buxiford was confused as to why they would want to win the Derby through sabotage, as the only prize worth while to them may have been, passingly, of interest to them beyond humiliating the Blades.
Continuing their investigation, the Blades called over several Derbymen, the ones responsible for setting up the targets, while they continued to go over the evidence with Lord Buxiford.
As for the Manor party, Aeliren continued to question Councilor Norman, as he seemed to be very wary of the Governess herself. However, he failed to convince the man to trust him, and he left quickly with his daughters soon after. Jendrick had managed to find a large amount of salt in the basement of the servant's quarters, which drew suspicion as Witches were known to hate salt. However, after questioning a cook about such a thing, the Cook stated it was due to rats that got into the salt piles after a storm, contaminating the salt. While still suspicious, Jendrick was forced to leave the servant's quarter. Aria and Leiliah managed to steal the corsage from the nobleman, who seemed only interested in sleeping with the two of them rather than anything else. When panicked when he realized the Corsage was gone, he questioned Wyard on the whereabouts of the two women; only to be pointed in the entirely wrong direction, thus letting them infiltrate into the VIP lounge.
Finally, at the Derby, the derbymen confirmed that there were two women wearing armbands that had the horse symbol of House Buxiford carrying the tampered targets; one of which having bright red hair and wearing all red, similar to Lord Buxiford himself. Sorrowfully, Lord Buxiford confirmed he knew who the culprits were, his daughter Lyla and her best friend Heather. While Lyla dismissed Heather as part of the plan, stating she was only helping, Lyla claimed the reason why she had done this was to sabotage Lord Buxiford specifically; as he had been neglecting and treating her poorly since her brother Jameson, and her mother Denise, had perished. Stating he was only attempting to toughen her up, as she was to take over the family when he passed now that Jameson was gone, Lyla claimed she was strong enough already and he needed to trust her more. Reconciling, Lord Buxiford thanked the Blades for finding the culprit without making a scene, and endeavored to handle the matter personally while commending the Blades. The Derby went on without issue from there, and the Blades' duties were done at the show.
At the same time at the manor, the Blades grouped up into the VIP area. Finding the Governess' quarters, a man approached Aria, attempting to court her, as her corsage color apparently indicated she was single and looking. Despite this, unwilling to indulge the man, Aria rebuffed him, and Jendrick stepped in masquerading as her lover. After a tense stand off, during which Aeliren and Wyard slipped into the Governess' quarters as the guard neared the stand off to ensure no fighting occurred, the Blades managed to secure several documents of information before having to leave to avoid being caught.
A letter from Kingston Forestry; stating they had 'pruned the pesky Willow tree' that had been bothering the governess. A letter from Councilman Ultson, who claimed that it was unnecessary to institute even more security measures; as the Governess had proposed a curfew that had not gone through as well as the disarming, and a final, scrawled letter, stating that the "Preparations were complete", though this one was far too vague to investigate on.
While unable to find out what Norman knew, the Blades brought this information to Kayle, who stated she would look into matters herself and contact the Blades soon with whatever she could find, worried that they had found nothing that dismissed suspicion.
Day Three: Forest's Edge
Having gathered at Kayle's request at an outpost at the entrance to the Gol Turak woods, fittingly named Forest's Edge, the group listened to the various information that Kayle had gathered; primarily that the Kingston forestry group was largely downsized, despite the Kingston's loyalties to the governess.
Thanks to an operation by Father Jendrick Acton, the Blades had managed to restore the faith of the Willowborne somewhat; having purged corruption on mainland Drustvar. This faith allowed them to evade suspicion as they met outside of Deadvale proper, as they no longer were exceedingly wary of the Blades' intentions.
Meeting at Forest's Edge, as it was between a woodland garrison, and the main compound of what used to be Kingston Lumber, the group elected to go under cover, as Kayle managed to re-route a patrol headed for that area to another location instead. With the lumber yard none-the-wiser, the group dressed up in gathered guardsmen armor, and left for the lumber yard first.
Once there, the Blades found that the equipment in the yard was top of the line, some of it recently acquired, and all of it incredibly underused. It was clear that the company had just upscaled at the time of their abandonment of their lumbering operations. Continuing the trend of oddities, the group found that, from a gathering of disgruntled workers outside of the main office of the lumber yards, that they were having troubles paying their workers; a sign that Kingston Forestry was not doing well.
Dispersing the mob, the group entered the office to find the lone clerk in the entire office, which seemed mostly empty at this point other than him and the other workers, thanking the group. Explaining that, since the change, pay was not going out as it used to. Taking a small break, with the Blades' reprieve, the group immediately scrounged through the desk before the man returned.
After he returned, the Blades departed and looked over their various gathered information. Having found that the Kingstons were planning on making a new township, named after themselves. Everything was set in motion for this venture, including hiring men to chop down Gol Turak and clear the surrounding lands, only for it to suddenly stop on the governess' orders. Had the Kingstons gone ahead with the construction of Kingston, there would have been no need to listen to her; hence the confusion.
Regrouping, the group quickly moved their patrol into the forest garrison, where after quickly scouring the area in their disguises, found information that led to the discovery that the leadership of Deadvale had been infiltrated by the coven in some form. In particular, they had spirited away something, or someone, by the moniker of G.C.M.. The phrase the "Red Eagle Descends" was used as a code word amongst those who knew and were actively fighting against it, but evidence showed that all of them had either perished, or had been arrested at the forest garrison. Learning that Norman Ultson was one of these people, one of the last free, the group regrouped at Forest's Edge, and summoned Lord Buxiford to inform him, and hopefully convert him to their cause.
Informed that the phrase referred to insurrectionists, Lord Buxiford initially reacted hostilely, revealing himself as a former paladin and nearly knocking out Roderick Gallowood who attempted to subdue him, but the Blades were able to talk the man down. Joining their cause, the man was convinced that the Governess was innocent, and that the Kingstons were behind it. Resting at the outpost, the group made it into their impromptu headquarters, and began to prepare for the coming days.
Day Four: The Rehearsal
Following the troubling information having been found at the two forested locations, the Blades continued their mission of winning over the people of Deadvale by still attending the rehearsal dinner for Christine and Randulf. There, they met with Norman Ultson, to whom they revealed the phrase "The Red Eagle Descends". After brief shock, Norman expressed relief that he was not the only remaining member of the group trying to uncover the Coven's activities; revealing that he believed something was going on with Christine and the Kingston twins. Enacting his plan, Ultson stated he knew of the location of G.C.M., the unknown variable in the Coven's plans, and that they planned to assassinate Randulf during the wedding ceremony it's self for some sort of dark sacrifice. Needing time to distract Christine, Ultson entrusted the Blades with such a task while he set about preparing to get the Blades into the warehouse near the wedding chapel that held G.C.M.
After sitting through the rehearsal ceremony, the Blades were sent to see where the catering was with the practice cake for the wedding; which had not been brought out as Christine specified. Taking their chance, the Blades went into the catering quarter of the chapel to find that Chef Baptiste, the Havreian chef hired for the occasion, was in a fit of rage. Unable to make his specialty soup of Havreian Ambrosia, a Havreian onion soup, due to the lack of onions and salt; the chef was beside himself with rage and unable to finish preparing the practice cake. Offering to find onions and salt for the man, he angrily dismissed the Blades; continuing to rage at his kitchen staff.
Finding that the onions and salt had been sent away, as Hags could not be near them, the Blades managed to waylay the departing food caravan; which had several bags of both being returned to an unknown buyer in Dustwash, theorized by several to have been simply the Kingston twins to ensure that the food material would not be within the wedding. After several attempts at coercion by Shadiyah Nahas, as well as mental coercion by Jendrick Acton, Siracco Karanes and Aeydan Wald managed to take two large bags of each of the ingredients while the merchants were distracted before the caravan departed. Returning with their prize in tow, Norman commended their efforts, as not only had they secured the cake, they'd also secured the poisoning of the hag in the nefarious troupe come the day of the wedding.
Having returned the ingredients, Chef Baptiste quickly finished dressing the rehearsal cake and sent it to Christine and Randulf. After which, the Blades quietly departed from the ceremony while the group was distracted. Headed to the warehouse with Norman, who distracted several of the guards by claiming his jurisdiction to check over the supplies, which they repeatedly denied, the Blades made their way to the warehouse housing G.C.M.. There, two guards stood watch, and were stealthily dispatched by Tabitha Chipperwing, Siracco Karanes, and Jendrick Acton; who ensured they wouldn't remember their assault using his mental magic.
Within the warehouse, the Blades abandoned subtlety as their time ran short; breaking into the locked room by force rather than finding a key. There, they found G.C.M. was none other than the Governess, Christine Mourningrose. Confused, the Blades quickly deduced that the hag was using an illusion to take on Christine's appearance, while keeping the real one locked away for nefarious purposes. While initially scared out of her mind, the group calmed Christine and spirited her away before regrouping with Norman. Deciding it was a bad idea to abruptly reveal Christine; as that could allow potential co-conspirators to escape, they told Norman of what their found.
His suspicions confirmed, he could not revel in the moment for a few seconds longer before an unknown gunman shot and nearly killed him. While Blades healers intervened, the man lost a substantial amount of blood, and slipped into unconsciousness shortly before pleading for them to save Deadvale. Vowing to help, Norman was taken away by medics to be stabilized; much to the Blades' displeasure at his injury. Without Norman to aid them, the Blades continued with their plan, preparing for the wedding.
Day Five: The Wedding
Arriving at the wedding, the Blades gathered before hand to meet with Kayle and Lord Buxiford for a last minute briefing. Norman had been stabilized, but had fallen into a coma; leaving him unable to assist. While both were optimistic, Buxiford claimed he did not know if Norman would survive this ordeal. Otherwise, all elements were in place; with the guards of the wedding replaced with Grymmtide and Buxiford men exclusively, and all potential weapons so that the false Christine could not sacrifice Randulf as planned. With their weapons and armor in waiting, Lord Buxiford assured the Blades he would watch their back.
Once gathered, the group sat through the wedding ceremony as the false Christine nervously missed every cue to sacrifice Randulf that she was supposed to have. Unexpectedly making it to the dinner, Christine awkwardly talked her way through to the food, a clear mark that her typical charm and candor was fading under the pressure of her plans being foiled. Once the Havreian Ambrosia was served, the Blades began to prepare for the false Christine to be revealed. Once she'd taken a sip of her soup, she began to choke and retch; before finally her illusion faded.
Preparing to attack, Lord Buxiford was quickly apprehended as a blade drove through his back out his chest from behind, a twisted Ron Kingston, amorphized by wicker attachments, having done the deed. Quickly, some of the guards that had supposedly been replaced began to morph into wicker creatures, showing that the Coven had laid a counter trap. Without their armaments, the Blades were quickly surrounded and outmanned as Lord Buxiford used his raw strength to concave Ron's head in. Unfortunately, the man's place amongst the coven's chosen had meant that he was now part wicker beast, and his head re-constituted quickly after. Gathering before the Blades, the coven traitors began to gloat as they prepared to sacrifice the group, only for the Hag to be shot in the shoulder with a silver crossbow bolt, shot by the real Christine.
Tossing the weapons of the Blades to the group, they engaged in combat as the troupe, alongside the Willowborne, fought off the wicker beasts and attempted to protect the guests. Throughout the fighting, Lord Buxiford was taken away by Kayle to be healed, leaving the Blades without assistance other than the Willowborne. While successful in repelling initial attacks, even as they grew more and more severe, Alyana was eventually brought forth, strapped to a horrific torture device that was using her life essence to summon more wicker creatures. Quickly, Khloros Darkwatcher and Roderick Gallowood attempted to free her, though in a botched attempt, Khloros slit open the woman's gut as she fell to the ground. Shattering his enchanted wine glass in the process, a priceless personal momento, Khloros managed to suture shut the wound on Alyana, saving the enchantress' life before flying into a rage at the loss of his memento.
The group battled their way to the Kingston twins and their hag master, eventually managing to slay her after Randulf drove a wicker blade through the woman's back; Roderick Gallowood slicing her head off as well as consuming her soul into his blade, Purgatory. Siracco Karanes, alongside several other Blades members, managed to apprehend Ron Kingston; and while John Kingston attempted to flee, he was trapped by Khloros Darkwatcher tossing a table at him in rage.
Apprehended, their mistress dead, and the Coven's plans foiled, the Kingston twins were held hostage by the victorious defenders of Grymmtide and questioned. There, the two gloated that their victory here was a mere setback, as the Coven proceeded unimpeded in resurrecting an ancient Drust warlord, Varik Hollowhart.
Hollowhart, the original ruler of the island and one of Gorak Tul's last remaining generals, was slain by Kayle's ancestor, Baleor Grymmtide. As she explained to the group, Baleor had come to find knowledge about Thros, and the Drust's plans to return from defeat. As a result, he had his name sake blade, Grymmtide, enchanted with the powers of the Light, the Tide, and the spirits of Nature; before driving it into Varik's heart. In doing so, he sealed away Varik's soul, a portion beneath Gol Turak, and three portions within the Blade it's self; each protected by the different enchantments. Rising to Athair's tears, Baleor had Grymmtide shattered into three pieces, and cast out into the tides of the sea to be protected by those who embodied the grace of each enchantment.
These three pieces were the Edge of Nature, the haft of the blade, which could make anything grow around it if planted and held purifying properties. The Tip of the Tide, the end of the blade, which could control storms and water. And the Hilt of Glory, the handle of the Blade, which could summon healing properties of the Light, as well as an ethereal version of Grymmtide it's self, made of Light. After explaining to the Blades, the Kingstons revealed that the Grandmatron had already unlocked part of Varik's soul, as the piece of his soul under Gol Turak could only be unlocked by Grymmtide blood, which the Grandmatron possessed. Lamenting the hope that her ancestor had that a Grymmtide would never betray Kul Tiras; Kayle explained that the Grandmatron was already a step ahead of them, and if they did not act, could resurrect Varik and his armies.
Kayle pledged herself to the Blades in that instant, as did Lord Buxiford and Christine. Thankful for their aid, Randulf finally did the same of the Willowborne; fulfilling the goals the Blades had on the isle. Stating that they would continue to look for the pieces of the Blade, the group implored the Blades to pursue other ventures on Kul Tiras in search of the pieces as well; hoping that in their adventures, they might find parts of the sword. Kayle theorized that the Edge of Nature was somewhere on the island still, and would continue to look for it while the Blades headed off. Meanwhile, Lord Buxiford, with Kayle's permission, pledged himself to the Blades officially; seeking to represent Kul Tiras and the Grymmtide name.
In addition to Lord Buxiford, Randulf sent forth Crasten. After questioning if his marriage was valid, the true Christine affirmed she still had feelings for Randulf after these years, and while embarrassing him infront of Crasten, whom Randulf did not trust to keep his mouth shut as to the loving remarks that Christine made of him; made Crasten the Willowborne Liaison to keep him away at times.
Their job on the island finished, the Blades were granted leave to use Grymm Landing as well as Grymmtide's Stand as their bases of operation in Kul Tiras while Kayle and the others endeavored to not only restore the island to its operational state, but also to find out as much as they could of the Grandmatron's plans.