While Akbar continued his studies within his tower, Stilgar and Rexor took Einar on a trip to Hablok to check on some information they had heard. Hablok had been destroyed by a Chaos storm* that had absolutely nothing to do with the reforging of the Shadow Staff. The fact that the storm came within moments of Akbar leaving the Temple of Boratha with the staff is a complete coincidence and the two events nothing to do with each other… Recently, the Chaos storm receded and scavengers on two legs have started to enter the city and bring valuables back out.
The Kompanions left their keep at Vanessa’s Lament and headed off to Hablok on their recently acquired flying carpet. Once they got away from their domains, the many small keeps and farm hamlets that had once dotted the land in the verdant countryside were clearly abandoned. The storms of Chaos and the monsters they had unleashed were playing havoc on the people. Sensing the power of the Kompanions, none challenged them as they went. After a week of travel, the Kompanions saw a column of dark smoke rising up into the sky from the ruins of Hablok. Between them and the city, situated on the main road was a camp built around a manor house that had survived the destruction.
The camp consisted of several hundred people. Around the manor house, a make shift wall of scavenged stone and building timbers was constructed with a ditch full of sharpened stakes surrounding it. A hodge podge of armed warriors in miss matched armor stood watchful on the walls and in the towers. The Kompanions brought the carpet in low to the front gate and were welcomed warmly. They asked who was in charge and were let in. As they passed through they saw the make up of the camp. It was a mix of repurposed buildings, tents and improvised shelters. There were groups of well armed and equipped adventurers, merchants selling the basic needs of life as well as an armorer beating the dents out of some old plate. The Kompanions arrived at the manor and met a vigorous looking woman of the north named Hilda.
Everyone in the camp knew who the Kompanions were as their fame had spread across the land. Hilda welcomed the Kompanions and hoped that they would stay awhile. She told them that the Chaos storms had subsided enough that the city could once again be entered though there were many dangers to deal with. The biggest structure in the city, The Tower of the Chatelaine** was mostly intact but also very dangerous. Several dozen of her massive war crows were still roosting and protecting the tower from intruders though none had seen the inscrutable Chatelaine or her knights since the storms began. Stilgar suggested that perhaps the little encampment could become a protectorate of the Kompanions and New Kaladonia. Hilda’s mood became very chilly at that suggestion. She wished them good luck and suggested the brothel as a good place to stay while they were in the camp.
Rexor, Stilgar and Einar flew into the city to check things out. As they approached, they saw a pair of the massive war crows consuming a corpse in the ruins near the edge of the city. Deciding to test the strength of the crows, they came down and attacked them. Though no match for the Kompanions, the crows were every bit as tough as any well trained war horse. The fight drew the attention of the rest of the crows from the lady’s tower and soon the Kompanions were engaged in an aerial battle with two dozen of the giant birds. It was a pitched battle as the birds swooped in at the adventurers and even picked Einar up off the carpet threatening to drop him to the cobbles below. Fortunately Einar was able to use the magic in his armor to return safely. During the fight, a large pack of zombies became aware of the possible meal and staggered into the streets below. The Kompanions were successful in the fight against the great birds but not without some difficulty.
The Kompanions, bruised and battered returned to the camp to recover after the fight with massive birds. They found prices were exorbitant for the most miserable and meager accommodations at which they grumbled but paid none the less. After they had taken their rest, the Kompanions returned to the city to see if they could enter the tower. Having been over 200 feet tall, the tower loomed over the rubble that had once been Hablok. The uppermost levels were damaged and destroyed. The rookery and the library were a mess of crow excrement and fouled papyrus and parchments. In the level below, the Kompanions found the lady’s apartments and a good deal of magical devices, armor, beautiful clothing and jewelry. The door to the next lower level was magically sealed and of formidable construction. They did find an entry through a balcony that had been destroyed and so went through that with carpet. They learned though that the door was protected on this side by a Chaos knight that had been pressed into service and bound the the lady. The Kompanions did battle with the corrupted warrior and overcame it. The monstrosity clanked to the floor and evaporated back into the ether from whence it came. Having acquired a good amount of loot, the Kompanions returned to their lodgings in the the camp.
*I used the concept and mechanics for Chaos storms from The Chaos Gods Come to Meatlandia I’ve used a bunch of material from this book throughout this campaign.
**Concept from Ben L. and his zine Through Ultan’s Door and influence of Glen Cook’s character “Lady” from Black Company.