The Longest Night
Kursk was a monk betrayed by Vega Hellbane and Joel in the final battle against Lumina Dawntreader in the Abyss. The party left his body next to that of Lumina, to be torn by the numerous demons waiting outside the collapsing barrier.
We begin where the party left the dead body of the would-be goddess Lumina. The foolish woman believed that she could control He-Who-Sleeps by manipulating his chains.
It was not to be.
Indeed, it was merely her fate to act as the link between the Sleeping God and the one who would be his avatar of death.
When our heroes disrupted her ritual, they did not stop the summoning: they stopped only the binding. They did not stay long enough to see the fruits of their efforts however, the collapsing barrier to the Abyss acting as motivation enough for them to flee. It was there, amid the soon to be ruined castle, that they left their one-time comrade Kursk. Fearful for his lust for power, the party struck him down in the heat of combat and left him for dead as the armies of the Blood War approached.
It was not to be.
It was his fate to be an Exarch for the Void.
When Sth-Lokel looked to see who attempted to bind him, he found a dead Lumina and a near-death Kursk. Lumina had been one of the last to know of his existence on the Prime Material, one of his last hopes of freedom. Yet, here lay a whelping. This man had made offerings and received power, uncaring of cost or the origin of his patron. His mere drive was the acquisition of power in all forms. When the God offered his power to the man on the edge of death, he was surprised.
Instead of an acceptance with plans of future betrayal or an anguished decision borne from desperation, the man accepted wholeheartedly. His only desire was to maintain his own cognizance and he would do all his new Lord requested. It was the first time the Sleeping God would ever find someone so readily willing to accept the duties of his Shadow Executioner.
This, he could work with.
So Kursk was reborn as the Shadow Executioner, Exarch of He-Who-Sleeps. The backlash of this binding tore a small fabric in the whole of the Planes and wrought terror all over the battle lines of the Blood War. Aberrant creatures from beyond the Vast Gate appeared from the tear. Immortal creatures were slain, their essences eaten by beings who were beyond all understanding. Kursk, leading them in the slaughter, fought his way back to a portal to the Prime Material.
After a brief period of rest, Kursk started on his two goals: revenge and the summoning of his Lord. The first was simple; that’s what assassins were for after all. Only four survived his tests, the rest being eaten for displeasing him. These assassins were promised great riches if they would kill his two targets: Paladin Vega Hellbane and Joel of the Order of Nine. Each went about their own way:
One stalked the pair, looking to strike them down from the shadows. He was eliminated quickly by Joel’s eternal servant Sebastian, who did not care for stalkers.
Taking note of the first’s mistake, the second chose to introduce discord in the group. Killing and replacing a half-orc in Vega’s hospital, he planned to learn as much as he could. With this information, he could sow discord and strike when they were vulnerable.
The third and fourth chose a more direct approach: exploding the hospital where Vega spent most of his time would be a simple affair. That would be one target, and maybe the other would be caught in the explosion.
The party, unfortunately, caught on to the gunpowder plot and put a stop to it. One assassin was caught: Flynn Varmouth. He was promptly questioned and executed by the party. The other got away. This assassin was Bhani Leapdreamer, an Eladrin rogue wizard.
Despite her failure, Kursk was impressed by the directness of her assault and her willingness to take responsibility. So impressed, in fact, he offered a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity: phenomenal cosmic power for eternal fealty. For the second time, the Sleeping God found a wholly willing individual to act as a vessel.
So it was that Bhani Leapdreamer became the Lady of Culling, Herald of He-Who-Waits.
Thoughts of revenge were pushed to the side, now that the party was on alert. Instead, the pair directed their focus to summoning their Lord. Their lord required chaos, the spilling of blood and loss of life. He wished for whole-hearted slaughter, the fighting of the insane and the desperate. Kursk suggested killing a military commander and informing his homeland that another nation told them to do it.
Bhani, having more of a grasp on subtlety, suggested a different means. She would infiltrate the city of Marsember. Posing as the second to the captain of the guard, she would obstruct any investigations into the city’s underworld. Her ultimate goal would to be to kill the all ranking members of the City Guard and the nobility and frame the city of Sumar. The resulting outrage would lead to civil war and an undue loss of life.
Kursk approved and sent her on her way, hiding and recieving reports on his old party. There apparently were relics tied to summoning his Lord, and the fools were gathering them for the wizard Valranoth. The idiot had no idea of their true purpose, but then again neither did Kursk. All he cared about was that they were involved with him getting more power, so he needed them.
Bhani returned soon after, saying that his party had interfered once again. Another failed assassination, but Kursk didn’t care. She had left enough of a mess that they would be busy rebuilding the city for at least a month. No, Kursk had other plans for the two of them.
His Lord had directed him to the last Orb, located on a plane on the cusp of the summoning. Kursk saw this as a great opportunity: he would get the last Orb, as well as get a chance to see what would happen when his Lord was summoned. Recruiting the other assassin, Muut, they found a portal to Sigil and made their way to the Shadowfell. An Exarch denied them passage. Kursk left no remains for the Lady to find.
After gathering some information, a plan was hatched. Bhani made her place in Sithas, weakening the last bastion for the front lines to rob them of all hope. Kursk made his way to Castle Relawynn to meet the Knights Undine. A strange barrier blocked access, and Kursk investigated. He found something peculiar, a Deva who was channeling the souls of the fallen soldiers to hold back the ‘corruption’ his Lord’s presence brought to everything. He was killed easily, his eldritch machine taken apart. In the core, however, was something that caught Kursk’s attention: a soul with… interesting properties. More importantly, he recognized the soul as Runefaust Hammerstorm. He had known the dwarf only a short while, being more familiar with his father than anything. The pair got along well enough in his previous life.
Then again, the past was the past. Kursk consumed Runefaust’s soul whole, gaining the power to channel souls for his own gain.
With this new power and the barrier down, the frontlines began to collapse. Kursk fought his way to the castle, arcane energy suffusing his own brand of elritch powers. The souls of those who fell gave him strength and speed, and he soon found himself at Castle Relawynn. They recognized his position as Shadow Executioner and welcomed him. They helped him to gather the necessary people to complete the ritual, giving him all he wished. After enough people had been fed to the ritual to attract their Lord, Kursk sent word to Bhani. She destroyed the Sithas’ water supply, killed the last Medica Sana and released hidden Maws to slaughter the last remnants of the Dreamers. Setch was unable to save them all, and those who were injured had no one to heal them. This damage done, she then made her way to Castle Relawynn and complete the ritual.
The plane fell, the landscape turning into flesh and madness. All sentient life collapsed in fear, tearing at their eyes and throats, unable to kill themselves to escape the nightmare. The hills and valleys became gaping mouths, the sun becoming a great eye that stared at all unceasingly. Time slowed to a crawl, and the very air seemed to fight against any movement. Kursk was displeased by the lack of sport a majority of the armies showed once his Lord was summoned: they had given up and most refused to even fight. It didn not matter, for death came to no one here and their souls were only released to be eaten by Sanguis-Essum, He-Who-Hungers.
He mentioned his displeasure at this result. What good was unlimited power if there was no one to use it on? His fears were abated when Bhani reminded him that there were multiple Planes. He could simply go and kill immortals once they were done in the Prime Material. There would never be lack of things to slaughter.
His heart leapt, and his path was reassured.
Yet, Kursk and his forces still had to get to their next target. Travelling through Sigil wasn’t an option: the Lady of Pain ran a tight ship and his link to his Lord was weakest there. Besides, she would never allow the movement of armed troops through her city. Luckily, his Lord provided by means of capturing an Astral skiff. After absorbing the captain’s soul and gaining his prowess, Kursk learned the means of operation and set off on the newly christened Dreaming Executioner. For three months Kursk sailed the Astral Sea, stealing souls for knowledge on how to return to the Prime Material and ‘recruiting’ more members into the Knights Undine. In the meantime, Bhani managed to link the final Orb into the ship’s propulsion systems. Besides acting as a guide to the other two Orbs, it reshaped the ship into something more befitting their ‘crew’. By the time they arrived in the Prime Material, Kursk had 2 additional Spelljammers and a 20-man crew for each.
On their return, Kursk commanded Muut to move himself into a position of power. Muut heard and obeyed, and within the week he wore the life of Matrial Dawnseeker. As second-in-command of Sumar, she held enough clout to get their Knights where they were needed.
One month later, most of the members of the fledgling Order of the Purple Wyrm were sent to the aid of an Ork-sieged Marsember.
Eight hours after their departure, numerous anti-air defenses were shut down for routine maintenance as scheduled by Matrial. Twelve hours later, the Dreaming Executioner and two Astral skiffs appeared over the city of Sumar. The two ships supported the numerous Knight Undine, which had spent the last month moving into position, as they overpowered the remaining City Guard and Wyrm troops. Meanwhile, Kursk and Bhani assaulted the Tower of Sight Unseen from the Dreaming Executioner.
Valranoth, having Seen the assault, was prepared with a personal contingent of ESAI. He had known of Matrial’s betrayal and given most of the members of the Order Rings of Retreat for such a day. He had created these ESAI with the sole purpose of combatting a pair of arcane assassins. Their elimination would garner him more glory and power within Sumar, and the orb they had brough would power the Motes he had prepared beneath the city. Sumar would be the crown jewel of Feyrun and the Planes. It would be what Sigil was supposed to be, without all the despotism and buerocracy.
What he had not Seen, however, was Kursk’s reappearance. It had been his fate to die on that castle, in that broken plane so long ago. Kursk’s reemergence was in direct contradiction with the threads of Fate, and hence he was unscryable.
What a fool he had been.
With surprise (and a Spelljammer fleet) on their side, Kursk, Bhani and Muut overpowered the Valranoth and the ESAI. Bhani linked the last Orb into the Arcane Support Network, activating the measures that the wizard had meant for good. The Undercity Motes activated, sending the city into the sky, and the Inter-Planar Teleportation grid activated, sending things from bad to worse for the city of Sumar. As it turned out, Valranoth had a central control grid for the portal system. It was a simple matter to have them all open toward the Far Realm and let the abherrent creatures have their way with the populous.
The Guard and the Order members sent to Marsember responded as fast as they could, but not quickly enough. Overwhelmed, Joel and the Order fell back and evacuated as many as possible. Priority went to the Academy and the Hospital. Joel himself guided a pregnant Salara away to his abode, using his personal teleportation grid to help them escape. Unfortunately, Muut sabotaged the teleportation grid and the pair were certain to not be in Joel’s safe Feywild abode. Instead, Joel and Salara found themselves in the depths of the Mosoleum City of Mishtan.
Sumar was merged with the Dreaming Executioner, guided by the spelljammer of the ship and powered by the city’s grid. The city was capable of Plane Shift to speed up travel between cities, as well as weaken the barrier between the plane and Astral Sea. Valranoth was relegated to the dungeons, where a seed was planted his stomach. The abomination would feed off of his magic, and grow into a large plant-like monstrocity that would lash him day-and-night.
Absorption starts with Marsember, then moves up the coast towards Thay. Absorbing a city takes 1d12+4 days with a day of travel in between them. Astral Sea to Prime Material time conversion – 5:1
Travel Route of Doom:
1. Marsember – 9 days; 155100 lost
2. Suzail – 12 days; 175500 lost
3. Ilipur – 9 days; 140801 lost
4. Pros – 6 days; 108006 lost
5. Teziir – 9 days; 170104 lost
6. Westgate – 13 days; 180005 lost
7. Urmlaspyr – 13 days; 193020 lost
8. Saerloon – 16 days; 200703 lost
9. Selgaunt – 9 days; 186003 lost
10. Ordulin – 12 days; 173006 lost
11. Yhaunn – 6 days; 155900 lost
12. Scardale – 10 days; 188008 lost
Party reenters the time stream 7 days into this city’s absorbtion.
13. Harrowdale – 12 days; 159008 lost
14. Ylraphon – 5 days; 140740 lost
15. Calaunt – 6 days; 140080 lost
16. Tantras – 5 days; 119000 lost
17. Raven’s Bluff – 6 days; 133004 lost
Total Casualties: 21022 lost
18. Procampur – 14 days; 166600 lost
19. Tsurlagol – 8 days; 130800 lost
20. Lyrabar – 16 days; 179100 lost
21. Hlammach – 8 days; 144700 lost
22. Dilpur – 14 days; 202800 lost
23. Sarshel – 12 days; 156900 lost
Party arrives onto the Prime on day 1 of this assault.
24. Nyth – 5 days; 127500 lost
25. Telflamm – 11 days; 152700 lost
26. Velprintalar – 11 days; 146100 lost
27. Thay – 15 days.
Total Sacrifices from Sumar: 415,190
Total Sacrifices Required: 9600
Total Casualties from Assaults: 12,455,700 (Each shot adds another 100,000 per Fist of God)
Total Remaining Population: 3,477, 710
Days Left: 3 days
The ritual was almost complete. By firing the planar weapons into the massive necromantic energies under Thay, the plane would be torn apart and his patron would be born anew. Our heroes hatched a plan, rallying forces from the Feywild and the fledgling forces of the Prime to stop the Thay assault. What they didn’t count on was the desperation of Khazdan Hammerstorm, a Druid who wanted to redeem himself for failing his son. Loaded for bear with his Chaos Brew, he launched an assault on the city by teleporting in with his astral mount Buck and the Korrin. He planted a large keg of Chaos Brew in the town square, and was spotted by patrols. He was assualted by abominations, who took Buck as their toll. Kursk, notified that Khazdan was in the area, came out to greet him. Khazdan had visited previously, and Kursk held him no ill will. Seeing his plans, however, he swiftly struck down Khazdan. Joel, tracking Khazdan, teleported onto the scene with Sebastian and attempted to fight Kursk. The Knights Undine joined the fray, and it was deemed impossible to win the fight. Khazdan detonated the Chaos Brew keg, taking out a large portion of the city is a burst of chaos magic and disrupting the rituals holding the city afloat. While that was enough to distract the Knights Undine, Kursk refused to be distracted now that his chance at revenge was finally within his reach. One of the Korrin had to sacrifice themselves to allow for them to make their escape.
Kursk found that the assault hadn’t been a failure. The Chaos Bomb had damaged the earth mote keeping the city afloat. Bhani had to partially manifest a portion of He-Who-Waits to keep the city afloat, but the binding backfired and caused part of it to manifest on her arm. Kursk, desperate to not lose his only wizard, tore the arm off and transplanted it with the Korrin Arm. The transplant was too much for Bhani; she burned out from the magical backlash and became incapable of thinking. Kursk was left without any great magical works. Just enough to maintain the city afloat. It would have to do. His great work was almost done.
The day of his victory, the heroes assaulted the city. Siege weaponry slammed into the wards of the floating city to no avail, and any assaults by air were struck down by abominations. He suspected something was wrong when his sword wound began bleeding and his breathing became heavy. He knew something was wrong when the manifestation of He-Who-Waits vanished and the city began falling. No. He refused to die like this, not before he was done. He used the power of Runefaust’s arm to absorb the numerous souls that the summoning ritual had collected to rebuild the link between the dying eldritch monstrosity. Desperate to live, it attempted to possess Kursk. Too weakened from Bahamut’s Shame, it was unable to assume control against Kursk who was riding high off of the souls of two planes and was instead absorbed by Kursk.
Using his newfound power, he managed to preserve the ‘throne room’ that he and Bhani were in. Then, he waited for the heroes to find the only standing building in the ruins of the city. They came, killed Bhani, and demanded he surrender. Roh drank the blood of a god, ascended to divinity, and was arrested for illegal ascenssion. Khazdan asked for Kursk’s left arm, thinking that his son’s soul was still bound to the same arm. Kursk gave him the pittance, for old times, and Khazdan refused to fight. Joel and Vega wanted to fight and kill him, but Drifter didn’t want to kill his once friend and was willing to fight them for it. Even so, this was not a fight Kursk could win one handed. He negotiated to leave the plane and never return, in exchange for not dealing the finishing blow to the plane. Vega swore vengence, but by that point, Kursk didn’t care.
On the Dreaming Executioner, he transplanted the Korrin arm on himself. His strange, immortal-like body was able to handle the feedback until it stabalized. Then, he settled on becoming a pirate of the Astral Seas and figured that god-hunting would be a good hobby to pass the time until Joel and Vega’s inevitable pursuit.