- The Order of Fookers, a cult of ~40 bandits that gathered around the party after their defeat of an evil demigod in their presence. They look to Knuckle and Humble as prophets. (Knuckle)
- Zhong Mah, a twisted mystic from Yong Lin’s land who dealt in unsettling blood rituals sent Saint Maria (aforementioned demigod) to the Greybark Forest. (Yong Lin)
- Geoffrey Parray, a bandido-cum-New Prophet, appointed from among the Order of Fookers by Humble to lead the Order in their liturgy. (GM)
- Tiny, The Bandit Leader, is dead by Ievos’ hand. (GM)
- 22 Silver Coins of the Scarlet Mistress, charred silver emblazoned with Her pentagram, wrapped securely in a laquered crimson leather satchel. (Humble)
p. Caravans arriving in Greybark Village have been talking for some time about the disturbing recent trend in banditry on the road from Ironcurl; namely, Tiny and his crew of bandits had gone from simply robbing them, as nature demands, and had started preaching to them instead. In fact, that caravans made it through often plied down with homemade wares, food, and poorly fashioned pamphlets inviting them to some big charismatic revival in the deep woods a couple days hence.
The party didn’t like the sound of this; Knuckle in particular wants to quash this newest cult before it spread. Ievos knew the general area of Tiny’s operations, and led the group down the road to find the newly-right-with-…god(s)? bandit. On the road, Yong Lin noticed Ulfred stalking them from the shadows of the great trees. Ievos beckoned her closer, and asked for information about Tiny’s whereabouts and his unsettling behavior of late.
Ulfred disclaimed any knowledge of his religious turn; she didn’t approve of his god bothering either, and had left the camp when it started. She either knew little, or was unwilling to share, and the group made their way down the road.
Within a few hours’ travel, they found Tiny convincing a merchant to join them while he sent his caravan onward. The party spoke with Tiny who encouraged them to come back to the camp and learn the Truth (you could hear the capital T) from Maria. The heroes joined them in the trip back to the camp. Ievos noted Ulfred shadowing them, and signaled for her to stay distant but to remain watchful.
Arriving at the camp, everything was…peaceful. Everyone had enough to eat. Everyone was clean and healthy. Hundreds of folks, living in communal harmony. It was C-R-E-E-P-Y. The crew mingled around for a bit, until they noticed that Tiny would periodically check into one tent regularly, and would leave looking ecstatically pleased. As he gathered his crew and went back down toward the road, the heroes decided to investigate that tent.
Upon approaching, robed figures moved into position to block them, seeming to appear from nowhere. Knuckle and Humble decided to move through them while Ievos and Yong Lin moved around. As they gathered in front of Knuckle, he started throwing fists at pelvises, and felt a bone crunch. But no gasps of pain, no labored breathing. No reaction beyond a sudden limp.
As Knuckle and Humble dealt with them, Ievos snuck around unnoticed, and cut a hole through the back of the tent. Slipping in to the dark interior, he saw a slight figure in meditation, with its back toward him. He spoke a word of warning as he held his sword at the ready, and she stirred…. Flames erupting from the tent, he was driven out.
A chanting picked up from the tent, and the robed figured went from simply obstructing Knuckle and Humble to trying to rip them apart. They exposed mottled hands with sharp, uneven nails, and began clawing and tearing at the group. Yong Lin abandoned all stealth and returned to the fray, and between them, they began to tear into the ghouls. But they proved hardy, and as they began to tear them down and killed a few, a haunting chant could be heard over the roar of the flames.
With that chant, the ghouls fought on through the worst injuries the heroes could inflict. Sensing the desperate times, Ievos began firing arrows blindly into the tent, spending many to no discernible effect. Humble moved around to join Ievos, as Ievos called on Wyn to join him.
Knuckle broke free of his wild melee, and charged toward the raging inferno. Quickly thinking, he soaked his shirt in ale and pulled it over his face, only to find the steam blinding and choking him as he ran into the supernaturally hot, unholy flames gathered by Maria. concurrently, Ievos and Wyn charged in from the back of the tent, ignoring the flames eating away at their flesh as they launched themselves at the tiny, evil girl. Wyn overshot and landed on Knuckle. Ievos got to Maria, but she quickly flipped him onto his back and leaned into him, speaking “it will all be okay….” and kissing him on the lips while the fires consumed him.
Not one to miss the fun, Humble found a rain barrel and soaked himself thoroughly, then launched himself into the inferno as well. Seeing Maria bearing down on Ievos, Humble ran his rapier through her throat, tearing out chunks of charred flesh and watched the thick, black ichor of her life blood oozing from the wound. She began gesticulating wildly, and the flames began to rise.
Outside, Yong Lin continued her fight. She initially tried to break free, but was brought to the ground. As she pushed them off once more and arose, she heard the chanting stop, and saw the ghouls turn toward the tent, ignoring her. As she cut into them with her crossed pike she found their arcane defenses gone, along with any sense of self preservation they may have once had. She cut them down like wheat as they shuffled toward their goddess.
Knuckle dug out from under the great dire wolf, and saw Maria’s incantations, feeling the fires grow. He charged across the tent, picking the small child up and hurtling them both through the collapsing, burning canvass into the blessed cool, fresh air outside. As they landed and she began to attempt to chant, or speak, or recant, or cry… or whatever… Knuckle punched. And punched. and punched. She spoke no more.
The heroes gathered the bandits-cum-cultists around; they had been unaware of maria’s nature, and quickly turned grateful for the rescue from what would surely have been their doom. Their gratitude quickly fed their cultists flames, and Humble fanned those flames higher and higher until they had pledged themselves to The Order of Fookers. Humble appointed Geoffrey Parray as the first among them, and they in turn tithed significant coin back to Humble, Ievos, and Knuckle, with Yong Lin declining.
On the road leading the hundreds of innocents back to safety, they came across Tiny. He had no clue what had happened, or how closely he had come to leading these people to their doom. Ievos hugged him, and in that hug he buried a short sword through Tiny’s back, killing the would be prophet. The Order of Fookers set upon those bandits loyal to Tiny, formerly their own brothers in arms, and slew them to a man.
Ulfred watched from the shadows….