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Aerie Headquarters
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Episode 4: Sacred Blood

Alma awakened everyone in the middle of the night with an emergency- 12 local children had been kidnapped by unknown individuals making use of necromancy. Furthermore, Karin had gone out on her own to find the children. Alma was very concerned, and sent the team to A) find Karin and assist her if possible, and then B) return to Anahata to meet up with an envoy from Azreya, a neighboring country that is renowned for it's experience in handling the undead and users of dark magic.

They explored the library in hopes of finding clues, and found three unusual details. First of all, the library floor had been dirtied with muddy footsteps, even though it had not rained in days. Secondly, a mysterious Azreyan sword had been hidden away, with a note attached for Karin. The note stated that the sword was a gift from an individual known only as "P". Finally, a book on necromancy had been left out in the public portion of the library, opened to a page on animating corpses.

Further investigation led the team to explore the area outside the outskirts of town. In a nearby forest, an old abandoned chapel has been the subject of haunting rumors for years. In light of the new developments, the team decided to search the area. They uncovered the exsanguinated remains of unfortunate woodsmen, and packs of ghasts that had made the forests surrounding the chapel their new feeding ground.

In the first encounter, Ahriman was badly mauled by ghouls, who paralyzed him. Disa stepped in to guard him, tearing the creatures apart with powerful, psionically charged blows, while Camui and Luka tangled with ghasts and a roaming ghost.

After some time searching the area, they found Karin tending to a wounded Azreyan man. He had been travelling into Rebus with a woman known as the Countess, when they were ambushed by a vampire and some ghouls. The ghouls gave him ghoul fever, and he was separated from the Countess. Ahriman knew that if his fever was not tended to, he would soon die and become one of the undead, so he teleported him back to the Aeria medical center to be treated. Adrian and Karin went off on their own to find the missing children, while Disa, Camui, and Luka headed to the chapel to try and find any sign of the vampires, the kidnappers, or the mysterious Countess.

At the chapel, a female vampire named Kawonia confronted them. She explained to them that she was a former opera singer and a mother whose child had been executed years ago by an overly zealous town elder. The elder had accused her son of being a demon because of the special abilities he had displayed, sending his mother into an eternity of mourning. However, she claimed she would soon have a new family. She raised several lifeless bodies that looked like children. She said that they were without souls, but they kept her company. She then told them that soon, she would have her own REAL children, as soon as she and her "husband" found them in the forest. It seems several of them had run away, and now she needed to find them again.

Just then, her husband appeared, bloodied and beaten. He claimed that a "terrible monster" had stolen their babies, and then he began to pass out. She claimed that he was low on blood, and needed to be fed- and as luck would have it, they had some on hand. She summoned up more "children", which transformed into ghouls, and then called forth a flight of ghosts. Just then, a blonde woman with an Azreyan sword appeared, dressed in black. She carried herself with the pride of a holy Azreyan warrior, and condemned the vampiress for her wicked deeds, and told her that if she required blood, she would have to take it from her, or from none at all. She requested the team's aid, and the four fighters became embroiled in a bloodsoaked battle for survival against the vampires and their makeshift "family."

At some point during the combat, Kawonia bit Luka, who began to emit blinding, white hot psionic fire. First, the three remaining warriors killed the vampires, and then attempted to subdue Luka. Luka threw them about like paper dolls and burned them unintentionally with his out of control psionic wrath. Karin arrived, and saw what was happening, and tried to help. Luka began to move towards the chapel, and Karin foretold that he had been altered by Kawonia and would revive her in the chapel.

Just then, Adrian arrived and everyone worked to try and prevent Luka from entering the church doors. Finally, he was able to be taken down, and the hold on him was broken. He returned to normal, although he had been badly wounded.

Karin stated that she suspected that Kawonia had been using an artifact in an attempt to become a human woman again. The Azreyan woman introduced herself as Portia De Medici, a Countess of the De Medici family of Azreya. She had been accompanying the man they found in the forest to Anahata to aid them with the undead problem, but had been ambushed and separated. Portia located the remaining children, placed in a magical sleep in a sealed room in the chapel basement. Adrian telepathically contacted Ahriman, and called him to the site to help get the children safely out of the ruin.

Meanwhile, Camui gave Disa an origami swan, telling her that she should never think of herself as a toy.

Once everyone had been safely teleported back to the base, they got the children back to their parents, and everyone went to their rooms. Alma prepared a room for Portia, so that she could at least stay in comfort for the next few days.

In Karin's room, Karin toyed with the sword Portia had given her, and spoke that she was fearful for her life, and now felt sorry that Portia had gotten involved. In Ahriman's chamber, Ahriman repaired Disa. Disa reprimanded him about trying to recapture what had been lost, a comment he did not understand. He told her that the new formula was almost complete, and when it was, the two of them might finally understand some of the things she said.

Meanwhile, in another plane, a familiar white-haired man sits in an ivory palace. The palace is moving through a grey, swirling sky. The man states that he will be at the "pool" soon, and then will be able to retrieve the "last of them". He laughs to himself that no lock is without a key, and that "they" are foolish for trying to "keep him away."

At that moment, in the living quarters, Camui overhears Tyler speaking in his sleep, talking something about someone or something called Azrael. In Luka's room, Adrian watches Luka sleep, and says that he is surprised to find someone who wasn't part of the plan, but he glad he did.

New Characters-

Portia De Medici
Race: Human (Azreyan)
Gender: Female
Class: Paladin
Age: 26
Alignment: Lawful Good

A female holy warrior from Azreya. She is a member of a disenfranchised family of nobles, the De Medici. She came to Rebus at Alma's request, in order to help them dispatch the necromantic offenders who had kidnapped the area children. She is a very dedicated and self-sacrificing warrior who values duty and justice above her own personal needs and desires. She seems to have a previous relationship with Karin. She fights gracefully with an Azreyan sword, using swift draw techniques and holy magic to disable foes with a single, elegant attack.

Kawonia
Race: Human Vampire
Gender: Female
Class: Cleric
Age: 403
Alignment: Neutral Evil

A vampiress who used to be an opera singer. She lost her child in life, which has caused her to gravitate towards children as a vampire. She has dedicated herself to some unknown religion, and seeks to be reborn as a human woman.

Murgel
Race: Human Vampire
Gender: Male
Class: Warlock
Age: 72
Alignment: Neutral Evil

A vampire with demonic blood, and Kawonia's "husband". In reality, he is more of a slave, and he tends to the children while doing her bidding.
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