A Rough Sketch of Events
Redwalt and Celes began investigating a mysterious figure who had come to town with four hooded bodyguards. The man pleasantly introduced himself as Ammon Jerro, a Circle Mage from Orlais. Following and later attempting to interrogate the mage revealed that he used magic that was just on the edge of forbidden, that his four near-identical guards could handily dismantle several dozen blood-mages without taking injuries, and that he worked under the direct authority of the Grand Enchanter himself. Redwalt and Celes did battle with his guards after watching the mind-rape and murder of an aged citizen, but were subdued/ordered to stand down.
Meanwhile, Glendere and Desta went to the city’s underbelly, gleaning the remnants of the Thieves Guild for clues. They discovered that the captain of the city guard was, in fact, a blood-mage, and that the conspiracy against the city went far higher than even her. Glendere engineered and successfully managed a plot to get Knight-Commander Giles Valmax the proof that he needed.
At the trial, the Knight-Commander presented his findings. Desta accidentally exposed a member of the nobility as a blood-mage, and the courtroom exploded with violence as fully half the nobles present pulled out blood magic. Arwen kept the Arl safe from all attempts on his life while Glendere and Ammon Jerro’s guards systematically took down the rebels.
Cleared of all charges, Arwen pushed for the party to leave the city quickly, agreeing with Menaby to leave at noon of that day. Desta, Arwen, Valen, and Glendere were each offered gifts by the grateful Arl. Desta disappeared (into the castle’s wine-cellar) before she could choose her gift. Valen took a bounty of silver, while Arwen declined, saying she merely did the Maker’s will. Glendere convinced the Arl to turn a blind eye to the Thieves’ Guild operations, so long as Glendere himself was in charge and kept violent crime down.
Before they left Atrica, though, Celes and Redwalt were interrogated by Jerro about the location of the Sin Gems. They gave him no answer, and he left the city a few hours before they did.
The Road to Denerim
Not far along the Imperial Highway toward Denerim, the party found the remains of a bandit clan, torn apart by sword and sorcery. Redwalt spotted immediately that the bandit’s wounds matched the weapons of Jerro’s bodyguards.
Further along the road, the path was blocked by a much larger caravan that had seemingly set up camp and then never decided to move on. Talking with the lethargic caravan’s members, they found out that the caravan leader had recently taken on a large sapphire that had been stolen by bandits mere hours earlier. From the description and the effects Arwen immediately recognized the sapphire as the Kingdom Breaker, prison to a Sloth Demon, and the party set off after the bandits.
Finding the bandits slaughtered by blight-wolves, one of whom had devoured the Gem, the party set to slaying the fleeing creatures before they could make the distant forest. Desta used her bow to kill the last wolf just on the edge of the forest, Redwalt rushing forward to cut the Sloth Gem from the creature’s belly. Just before he secured the Gem, the Templar-in-Training was sent flying as a pair of Ogres stepped from the trees.
The party then engaged in desperate combat, everyone taking massive damage as the Ogres quickly regenerated their wounds. Ultimately, Arwen released the strongest arcane bolt any of them had ever seen, annihilating the wolf that had regenerated and severely damaging both Ogres. The second blow came when Redwalt unleashed the some of the power his Dragon Blade had been storing in a vast gout of flame that consumed one Ogre and injured the other unto death. Desta, who had been riding the surviving monster, finished it off with two arrows to the brain.
Having at last secured all of the Sin Gems save Wrath, Arwen finally admitted the will-sapping powers each of them held. Even her strong will could barely contain the three she held already. Redwalt