The River Kingdoms

To Battle Death and Save Thyme (AKA Puns, the Punenning)

Chapter 1: The Race against Thyme

Lhiana and Darian having been seriously weakened by the defeated Ghouls life-sucking Aura and knowing that the Ghouls are headed towards that very village, they decide to head towards Thyme to pick up Victor and warn the villagers of the undead plague that is heading their way. They decide to rest for the night and head out at first light.

As Darian rest however, dark dreams intrude upon his sleep. No mere shadows of the imaginations are these dreams, but rather a mirror of the mind of the monster that, mere days before, was a little girl. The monster, apparently unaware of the tragedy that has befallen it, but knowing that it – or perhaps she – is ill decided to head towards Thyme to visit James Dhall, the doctor there. Darian tries to impose his will upon the girl/monster, but she shrugs of his suggestion that she should remain where she is.

Darian struggles to wake, but in his weakened state sleep refused to release him from its grasp for a few hours yet. When he awakens he quickly rouses Lhiana and they stumble towards Thyme, weary as they are, and dark as it is. The Race against Thyme is on, but who will arrive first? The monster that was once a girl, the heroes, or the darker menace of the master ghoul, created by the misfire of Darians own magic?

Meanwhile a few days ride away Borun has been caught by Father Thovald. He attempts to convince Borun to give up his mad quest (AKA saving his friend from a fate worse than death and preventing The fall of Thyme itself, to a plague of undead of such power and cunning that it might threaten all of the River Kingdoms or even all of Golarion). Borun fakes acquiescence and then surprising Thorvald topless him from his horse and steals this second horse as well. Now having two horses he makes good time towards Thyme, first riding one horse almost to death and then, leaving the horse behind for Thovald to find switching to the other and riding on. Onward towards Thyme.

At the same Thyme, Victor is yet recovering in the house of Dhall as a knock is heard on the door. Dhall heads towards the door, shuddering slightly as he enters the life sucking aura of the monster that awaits him. He opens the door and seeing what he thinks is the girl he knows hugs her to him, trying to console her and find out what’s wrong.

Perhaps by this Thyme the once-girl has discovered the truth of what she is, or perhaps the instinct of her monstrous self simply takes over. She bites the doctor attempting to devour his flesh and turn him into yet another Ghoul. Victor on hearing the commotion jumps from his bed with his weapons and rushed in to see the struggle. Not realizing that there is more to this than a hysterical girl, he attempt to separate the monster and the doctor with only his hands. Fortunately however the life sucking aura of the girl-monster is weaker than that of the adult Ghouls and victor is not weakened.

Meanwhile Lhiana and Darian enter the village, Darian calling out “To Arms!” and “The Undead Are Coming!” at the top of his lungs. Now realizing the true horror of the being gnawing the doctors flesh Victor grasp a table leg and methodically clubs the unholy energy animating the diminutive corpse before him from its body. Perhaps now the soul of the girl can find peace?

Interlude: A Brief Thyme of peace
With the danger passed for the moment, the heroes organize the villages getting them to take up whatever arms can be found in the village, and setting up a parameter to halt any possible ghouls trying to enter the village. This does lead to a brief tense moment when Boruns rides into the Thyme, after a brief examination it is decided that he does not display the clears sign of death the other ghouls have and since he rides a horse he clearly lacks the life sucking aura. Little do the heroes know that the Thyme that such signs can be trusted has passed.

With the situation now under as much control as can reasonably be expected in the opening stages of a possible undead plague. Darian formulates a brilliant plan. He is going to go to sleep. Like many good plans this accomplished two things with one action.

1) Rest.
2) Since he is still infected by the ghouls touch he hopes to gain a glimpse of its mind and acquire important intel.

Darian find a place to sleep and starts to dream. He finds himself, inhabiting the mind of the Master Ghoul walking down the road. The master ghouls stops for perhaps half an hour and does… [Darians sight is blocked]… Something, perhaps the strength of the master ghouls mind prevents Darian from seeing what it is the master ghoul does.

Once whatever mysterious activity the master ghoul is engaged in is done it moves on. After a while it encounters Father Thorvald and about a ten rider accompanying him. Rather that attack the monstrosity however, they talk, and he is offered a vacant horse. Clearly the monster is becoming increasingly human in appearance and can suppress its life sucking aura at need.
At this alarming development Darian tries to awaken himself, but once again sleep refused to let go of its clutches, and Darian sleeps on, seeing the group make its way towards Thyme.

Chapter 2: The Battle for Thyme
Father Thorvald and his men arrive in Thyme and a boy is sent to wake Darian. Thorvald is greeted by Borun with Victor and Lhiana and perhaps 45 villages standing in the background. Borun tries to convince Thorvald to use his armed men, to help fight the undead menace. Thorvald however is unwilling to give any such assistance, and rather insists that Borun return with him to face justice for the theft of his horse. The situation escalates quickly and Thorvald accuses the village of being infected with the undead taint. At this tense Thyme Darian arrives and spots in the background the master Ghoul. He points him out to his comrades.

With Thorvald now ordering his men to slaughter the villages as infected undead, Borun decided that the way to stop this is to take out the Ghoul, and he calls for his friends to do this. It’s hit by several arrows and on this Thorvalds retinue of 8 trained warrior charges.

About half the villages scatter from the charge, but 25 remain with Borun. Darian, headless of his wounds jump in beside him to receive his charge while Lhiana and Victor reload and fire again at the Ghoul. The heroes and the villages still outnumber the riders by better than 2 to 1, but the riders have the advantage of weapons, being mounted, better equipment and superior skill as well as the devastating power of the charge itself.

Fortune however favors the just, perhaps Erastil himself glances down and decide to spare the world the consequences of his servant almost catastrophic misjudgments. The remaining villages, acting with speed and skill that one could not expect from mere farmers, brace their pitchforks against the ground and receives the charge, witch shatters like waves before a rock. At the same Thyme Lhiana hits the master ghoul with an arrow through the head, shattering any illusion that the monster is human. At this Thorvald regains his senses and attempts to call down Erastils wrath upon the monster, but with no greater success than his previous efforts. Perhaps Erastil is dissatisfied with his failures of judgment?

At this Thyme Borun Charges across the fallen warriors of Erastil and decapitates the monster. The days is won but at a considerable price. Four of Erastils warriors lie dead on the cold ground and the remaining 4 are severely wounded. A villager has also been slain, with several bearing wounds. Thorvald having regained his senses, he appear to have been under some form of magical control, is feeling penitent that his failures almost resulted in a full fledged undead plague. He forgives Borun for the theft of his horse and insists that Borun keeps the animal.

After the Battle for Thyme, Borun takes his new horse and quickly rides to Hawktown to give Jacab the sword as agreed. Jacab pays Borun and tells that he has been ousted as lord of Hawktown, but hopes to regain his title by defeating the dragon lone man. Borun tries to convince him to give up this suicidal quest, but he is not to be deterred, so Borun wished him the best of luck and rides back leaving Jacab to his fate, good or ill.

The end (but not of Thyme)

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