The Defenders

Sweet Returns
A bittersweet welcome

After an arduous journey back home, Emira, Reginald and Burlet, knock on the door of their mentor, Rufus, with dire news: their companion, Vidya, has been devoured by Reginald’s own father!

After delivering this trying news, Rufus intorduces everyone to their newest companion – the mysterious Arlash, who quickly proves himself to be a man who knows his way around herbs.

The next day, Rufus passes unto our heroes their new mission as Defenders: to investigate and stop a madman manipulating Soul. This madman kidnaps young people and even children, yet whatever he is doing with them leaves little trace.

The heroes spring into action, devising a battle plan to infiltrate the area and find this devious kidnapper.

But before they can move out, Rufus makes time for his students and stages a supernatural intervention by using to Soul to take the appearance of Reginald’s father and making him fight his own past!

Yet it seems Reginald is not ready to go of the past still and Rufus is interrupted by Burlet, who out of concern for his master intrudes upon Rufus’ and Reginald’s mindscapes. Deciding to try something out, he does what Rufus does not expect and drag him to his own mindscape to meet the enigmatic Mr. Husk.

Joined by an interloping Arlash, the three have a talk with Mr. Husk. During the conversation it is revealed Rufus has some knowledge of beings such as Mr. Husk, but is reluctant to share it.

Meanwhile, Reginald is caught in a dreamscape, where he rejoins the visions of his mother and an idyllic childhood.

After they return to the real world, our heroes head in for the night, unsure of what the future holds, and the next morning they set out on their journey, determined to complete their mission.

A Slippery Slope
Session Three

The three Defenders set out in search of their missing compatriot, but found themselves soon trapped in a small Grey Larks camp in the woods. Vidya Kīṭa found herself fairly well off, as she could bring in her former connection to the Grey Larks outreach program she participated in. She rested well, whereas the others did not enjoy the same amenities. Sir Reginald Von Reydun was placed in a makeshift prison, which was more of a box put against a wide tree trunk. Burlet on the other hand was placed in a small medical tent to treat his deep cuts that left him in a pool of blood on the ground the previous day.

Vidya Kīṭa awoke to be told to have breakfast at a central tent and obliged. There she had some fruits and a small chat about the head of the Grey Larks coming later in the evening. After which she decided to walk the premises and was accompanied by Oglaf, who was one of the fighters yesterday. Oglaf avoided the box and medical tent. Instead as he walked he ranted about his enjoyment of killing, while trying to set up a quick ambush aided by Vidya Kīṭa to pass the time. Vidya Kīṭa regretted that she couldn’t manage to escape last night and was blocked despite her excuse of basic needs.

Sir Reginald Von Reydun was given a breakfast, which was equal to what Vidya Kīṭa had. He otherwise bid his time alone in the box dealing with annoying parts of nature, such as bugs.

Burlet awoke from his slumber to find himself loosely restrained. Across from him he saw another patient seemingly sleeping away. He took this chance to go into a meditative trance and dispersed his soul about his body. His diffused soul gave him a slight glow, which was very visible from his eyes. Burlet found himself in a familiar desert and started walking until he was interrupted rudely by the other patient. This patient asked for help in escaping, although Burlet had no interest in leaving his lord Sir Reginald Von Reydun behind. The other patient did manage to get some Soul channeled through an odd trinket that actually harmed Burlet. The patient, who named himself as Tom Retinor ran faster than an arrow to his supposed freedom. Now with solitude Burlet began meditating again.

Sir Reginald Von Reydun gets taken out of the box and escorted by a somewhat apathetic man to the central tent. He arrived to find Vidya Kīṭa there, which he no doubt wasn’t too fond of as it seems she might have betrayed himself and Burlet. He takes a seat and they both wait with the others. The most notable people also in the room were the well-dressed man and Oglaf. A short while later two strongmen came in followed by one robe-wearer. These people parted to the sides and between them came out Senior von Reydun with a wide grin on his face. He looked to his son with pleasure and to the others paid no attention. The two Defenders and Senior von Reydun had a conversation about Sir Reginald Von Reydun‘s running away from home, although with less input on the part of Vidya Kīṭa. He also brought up Former Missus von Reydun and revealed that he killed her, which shouldn’t be too bad. To carry on this bent of death Senior von Reydun had his son freed and gave him a curved dagger from the robe-wearer and told him to do it. His son stabbed the man to death, although not without sarcasm. Senior von Reydun revealed that it was the father of the young neighbor girl that was often home alone. His son showed little remorse, so Senior von Reydun continued onward. He tried to get him to stab Vidya Kīṭa, but to no avail.

Burlet had been in the desert trying to commune with Mr. Husk about how to get out of the situation. He got a satisfactory enough answer, then headed out to the main tent, but ran into someone on the way. That ruffian woman almost raised the alarm, but he had her head implode ahead of time. A trick he converted from fruit into people, but not one he’s fond of using often unless the situation calls for it. He took some time to hide her body and take the garb of the Grey Larks. He walked in to the scene of Sir Reginald Von Reydun versus Vidya Kīṭa. As soon as he entered the tent, though, he put his attention to also use his mind-blowing trick on Senior von Reydun. It was without luck and so he lost his pay. Nonetheless, he proceeded inward and took a seat after Senior von Reydun let it be.

Senior von Reydun decided to start small and started to have his son stab everyone else in the room except for his “allies”. His son complied and when the others soon realized that it wouldn’t end they tried resisting. Senior von Reydun’s sheer muscle mass and grip quite easily held them back for his son to carry on. Burlet was disgusted and Vidya Kīṭa fearful of how things were progressing. They decided to book it and let Sir Reginald Von Reydun catch up. Oglaf tried to hold Burlet hostage to keep his own life, but failed and was instead Soul Shoved to the side of the tent. The two escaped in the death frenzy. Burlet made the tent topple and as the two ran away they lit the camp ablaze leaving little time for the Grey Larks to react. They thieved horses and went toward the nearest place of residence that was not up in flames.

Sir Reginald Von Reydun finished his task with numbness in his heart and his father lifted the tent and moved it away. He left words with his son and as a show of his power somewhat replicated the not parlor fit trick of Burlet. Although, his was not precise person to person. Sir Reginald Von Reydun walked out of the camp in his bloody wear with a curved dagger headed on the road as he was before.

Burlet and Vidya Kīṭa arrived and put up their horses. They explained away the tattered and bloody nature of Burlet as related to surviving a bandit attack. Then, Vidya Kīṭa passed him off as her senile grandfather talking about nonexistent Soul Beasts and a crazy concept called “magic”. Burlet cleaned up and went to meditate to discuss the matter of Sir Reginald Von Reydun’s changing as well as its relation to the promise he made with Former Missus von Reydun to keep his…“lord”…well.

Sir Reginald Von Reydun made it to the town in his disheveled state and as he passed by kids playing a game they began screaming, “Bloody Murderer, Bloody Murderer!” This attracted the attention of the middle-aged lady that earlier dealt with Burlet and Vidya Kīṭa’s arrival. There was little excuse until Vidya Kīṭa noticed what was going on and provided an explanation of Sir Reginald Von Reydun being a bodyguard that annihilated an entire camp of bandits. This was supported by the smoke plume that was coming a little way to the east of the town. This may have inadvertently inspired some to think of a suit wearing man as a very capable death bringer, assassin, or body guard.

Later in the night Burlet carried on with his meditation as Vidya Kīṭa both observed him and left their room to listen in to the townsfolk’s idle chatter at a circular bar. She heard the common talk of war and small town worries. Of course complaints about the Grey Larks and talk of the newcomers to the village also bled in.

Sir Reginald Von Reydun stayed at the bar indulging himself in drink. Two twin teenagers approached him with one fairly fat and the other skinny. They were curious about his deeds and how he accomplished them. They wanted to try and learn from him or some such crud. He wasn’t having it, so they started insulting him for a fight. Their mother-based insult tipped the scales to cause Sir Reginald Von Reydun to swing at them. Some punches were swinged. A teenager knocked out and the other injured ready to use a bottle they broke as a weapon. Sir Reginald Von Reydun was even hurt a little, but that’s more attributable to his inebriation even if only partial. Luckily at this moment Vidya Kīṭa left the room and stopped him. They soon left the village. Sooner than the original time they were given to stay after the initial scare that Sir Reginald Von Reydun gave everyone.

They slept on the side of the road in the open and Burlet started a very small fire. Vidya Kīṭa noticed an odd face, which led to an encounter with a Grimnar. It tested their temptation and was dissatisfied, so it crushed the Soul Crystal of Former Missus von Reydun that Sir Reginald Von Reydun had covertly been carrying around. It left two persistent trinkets for the other two, which it said would help them in what they want. Burlet returned to his trance and focused on training in the desert, as well as resting. The others all returned to rest, although Sir Reginald Von Reydun was passed out before the Grimnar woke him up from his drunken sleep. The Grimnar walked away into the night.

Soon the three Defenders would be at Empare. Their future and past.

In search of Sin
Session 2 of the Defenders Campaign

Rufus awakes the group of fledgling heroes with disturbing news: Sin Acra, the Lightbringer monk, is missing. Rufus explains that not only has he left the village proper, but has disappeared from his own vision of the future. Rufus is very disturbed by this. He tells the party that Sin most likely headed for the capital city of Empare. The three Defenders take a carriage from Neul, ostensibly heading for Empare. But, hearing that there is good food to be had in local towns,Vidya detours their carriage to an unnamed town. Her companions, displeased with her plan, refuse to pay the disgruntled driver his due without some compensation from Vidya. She waves reassuringly and disappears from view.

With Vidya at parts unknown, Burlet and Sir Reginald take the driver to a local restaurant as an apology for the misunderstanding. Burlet singlehandedly starts the tradition of “waiting tables” while there and holds a record of quickest mastering the dish “pietza.” The driver warns them of Vidya’s “type,” but Sir Reginald takes it all in good grace. Meanwhile, Vidya herself finds a rich looking mark and lifts enough coin to clear her debt to Burlet (with the fidgety man being none the wiser). In addition to money, Vidya also pockets a small medallion of unknown origin and design. She makes her way back to the open cafe and starts to beg at the backdoor. Instead of staff, Burlet greets her. She drops her ill-gotten coin into his hand. With some pity in his heart, Burlet passes on some food and drink.

The group then set out in the carriage once again. They almost get to the main road when they are ambushed by Grey Larks. Through a series of unfortunate accidents, Burlet is beaten into unconsciousness, and Vidya is surrounded by grinning thugs. Desperate to save her companions, Vidya confesses to being a member of the Grey Larks and convinces their attackers to cease and desist. The group is then taken prisoner and led off to a nearby Grey Lark camp, but not before it is revealed that the new leader of the Grey Larks is Sir Reginald’s own kin.

What we learned:
Rufus is an old man who loves his honey bread.
Reginald doesn’t take kindly to deception.
Burlet knows just about everyone, everywhere.
Vidya is astounded about how little these restaurants throw out.

Rufus is not your babysitter
Reginald is a late sleeper.
Burlet will learn how to fly.
Vidya will pay back Rufus for his food (“so help her Day God”).

Meetings and Mentors
Session 1 of the Defenders Campaign

Individuals Vidya, Sir Reginald, Burlet, and Sin travel from their various homes to the semi-remote town of Fio after being contacted by Rufus Bell, a man represenative of the Defenders, a league of Light dedicated to keeping the ordinary people of the world save from encroaching Darkness. After arriving in Fa by carriage (so lovingly paid for by Sir Reginald and Burlet), the group seeks out Rufus at the far end of town in a small, yellow house. Rufus explains what the Defenders are and takes the group out back to test their skills. Despite unexpected teamwork and interesting uses of Soul, the group essentially fails to even touch Rufus, much less harm him. He takes them back inside, somewhat pleased at their abilities. He further explains the Defender’s creed and constructively critiques the abilities of all four individuals. He answers all their questions and sends them upstairs to——to the basement for——ugh, the “attic” for sleep. The next day he allows them all a day of training while he awaits a message from the Defenders (aka the Light newspaper).

What we learned:

Burlet has a pocket full of sand.
Reginald has a rather large mustache.
Vidya kicks too much
Sin’s Soul extension on his rapier was rather cool.
Rufus is secretly a ninja.

Burlet is passively sassy.
Reginald likes comfy couches.
Vidya gets annoyed by continuous Pings.
Sin likes shadowed corners.
Rufus may not have enough food in his larder.

One-Shot the First

It was ten years after the collapse of the Empire and the land remained engulfed in turmoil. In the midst of all the up and coming countries one in particular managed to root itself both in history and on the maps. The country was Ansheris of multifold houses, which overtook a neighboring country in one decisive battle by the powers of its Five Generals as led by the Commander Jerrick of much charisma.

The might of Ansheris was pressing forward on a front passing through hilly lands without pause headed to march on the Sizan capital. They had been moving through with ease more often than not as the strategic wit of Levi Armstrong and information gathering expertise of Singorn had no parallel on the enemy’s side. In fact the Sizan only had one leader on the battlefield, who was the heir to the Sizan nation. That did give the Sizan an iota of morale to push back at times with the terrain knowledge they had. Yet, with only archers and basic infantry this would not be enough.

So, they concocted an agreement with General Kradan Acra of which the details remain unclear. Nonetheless, it ended up causing the Ansheris forces to be led partially astray and almost be taken by surprise while they went towards the heir Devarin’s troops. It is understood that on their march to the supposed location of the enemy camp a few scouts were directed by Armstrong to investigate some lights on top of a hill. This caution paid off when a lone survivor by the name of Roderick Milesworth returned with reports that the camp was closer than anticipated.

Generals Thorn, Saeki, and Kradan had a quick discussion as they were in front of the Ansheris infantry over adjusting plans to confront the enemy. Armstrong motioned to carry on with their typical methodology, as he was oft to be a man of action with his personal men at the back. The forces of Ansheris then decided to carry on up the hill with the Shields of Saeki to cover their ascent and the deadly dance of Thorn’s blademen to both eviscerate and terrorize the enemy. Armstrong left orders to burn the crops of a farm that was ahead of the hill, but amongst those he sent one volunteer by the heinous name of Nathaniel Ag burned more than instructed with the intent to move ahead of the farm and burn the nearby Sizan town to the ground.

Everything went nearly according to plan. As the army went up the hill Armstrong’s men separated to the sides with the notion to flank the enemy. Saeki sent a few of his lesser Shields to investigate the burning of what seemed to be more than just crops. He also managed to deflect arrows so perfectly that some archers toppled and slid down the somewhat wet hill. Thorn and his blade dancers came upon the top of the hill to the sight of archers aiming down at them and behind them Devarin on a mount with his foot soldiers all behind him. Soon after Kradan managed to get on top of the hill, then came Saeki’s Shields. Armstrong’s own units came staggered with the one he was leading first on one side and the other afterwards. The infantry and archers of Ansheris were the last to reach the hill. By the time they reached it Thorn had swept through the archers with the grace of a butterfly and lethality of a plague. His Blade Dancers did the same leaving no enemy archer alive.

Thorn was the type to cut at the legs and collapse the enemy. Then, press his foot on them while driving his sword down. In his element he was seen as very cruel, but did fight with the utmost efficiency he could muster. Kradan began acting oddly at this time as he casually walked over to Devarin and turned to face the Ansheris forces amassed on the hill. Armstrong felt something was going on, but warranted that it was better to hold off on engaging the enemy immediately. Saeki was unsure of what Kradan was doing, but he hadn’t a reason not to trust his fellow general on the field. Thorn idled with curiosity at the sight of Kradan’s odd actions.

Kradan then began smiling widely and spread out his arms as a glow began to suffuse both his body and his eyes.

Saeki asked, “What are you doing?”

Kradan answered, “What I believe is right.”

Saeki was puzzled by the answer, but before he had a chance to figure out what Kradan meant the Shields he sent to check on the burning came back to let him know of Nathaniel’s intent. Saeki left immediately with trust still in his heart to rescue those townspeople, because to him it didn’t matter if they were Sizan or Ansheris people.

Now only the main Ansheris forces, Thorn, the other blade dancers, Devarin’s slowly retreating men, and Armstrong’s off to the side forces remained on the hill. Kradan began to glow with more intensity, which Armstrong identified as being soul for sure. Thorn sensed something might be amiss, so he was prepared to move if need be.

Kradan loudly yelled, “Embrace the darkness, praise the night!”

Then, with the ferocity of lightning and thunder Kradan let out an eviscerating soul in a radius that Armstrong was luckily outside of. Thorn, however wasn’t so lucky. His preparation for trouble, however, did manage to let him leap out of being directly in the range of Kradan. Instead of his soul weakening to nothing he was left soul singed and just generally shocked by the course of events. Armstrong thought that the enemy had done something to Kradan, so in anger he charged at the small amount of survivors that were outside the soul blast leaving none.

As for the effects of Kradan’s suicidal actions all that remained were lifeless husks standing withered as if long dead with the grass mainly brown now. Kradan himself remained grinning maniacally captured in the state of emitting his soul supernova. Saeki returned to the hill after his heroics, but was left silent by the scene before him. He managed to get Thorn to reveal the last words of Kradan. He also confronted Armstrong over Nathaniel learning that it was not his command. Kradan had managed to kill off nearly both armies. Those Ansheris fellows that evaded death returned to their camp to inform Jerrick and General Singorn of the events that passed. The two were in such disbelief that they had to go back to the site of the short battle to prove their words.

In finality the Sizan people surrendered unconditionally as they thought that if the Ansheris could wipe out multiple armies with just one man that they would be better off not seeing if they could do it again. Not to mention that thanks to Saeki’s selfless efforts their citizens were not harmed at all giving them reassurance that it would be safer to not press back against Ansheris.

The generals themselves went down as figures of history in other regards too. Levi Armstrong authored a text on strategy as well as creating a specialized team of combatants which included training further soul sword practitioners. Thorn the Butterfly of Death was stricken with grief over the loss of the few other Blade Dancers, so he went on to reform the tenets of the Blade Dancers from being on-hire mercenaries to a far-reaching order that did good in the world. Saeki Koichi the inspiring savior of many carried on an organization of those that wield the shield as well as making the first forays into soultech by developing a prototype Soul Flume. Kradan Acra of course went down in infamy in the annals of history.

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