Shadow of Corruption
The event itself used the Castle as a centralized staging area, where quests were given out and things such as merchants were offered. To minimize the use of resources and make the best use of everyone's time, NPCs/Monsters were dispatched to locations as Quests were accepted to ensure volunteers could be cycled in and out as needed.
"I arrived on site accompanying the High Priestess who was also traveling to the area right on schedule. When we arrived the residents informed me that a Harvest Festival was to happen in a few weeks, celebrating the end of the great plague that had swept through our lands and this festival would include a visit from King Kaads and was to even include a Knighting. Thinking the Wisonian Soothsayers had sent me to another party as opposed to something of import I settled in with not much to do outside of poking the staff for information and exploring the countryside.
This surprisingly well fortified outpost serves as a jumping off point for any adventurer looking to explore the great wastes that lie to the West of Polaris before getting to Kingdoms such as the Desert Winds or even Iron Mountains. I found the countryside to be pleasant enough, with a shocking variety of fungi, and the staff informed me (after some drinks) that while the area is relatively without threat they have heard some sort of chanting in the hills at night. Even still they were not too concerned as the Star of Polaris, according to them, protected this site. While I never experienced this chanting in the days leading up to the festival, I initially wrote this off as bored paranoia or perhaps even an undocumented Druidic Circle. With the events that would later transpire this was likely dark preparations for what was to come.
As we approached the Celebration a variety of people and organizations began to arrive. Residents from the Lands End enclave, various Nobles from the holdings of Polaris, the Freedom Troop 952, and several other groups of adventures showed up to enjoy the festivities. The Kings retinue finally arrived on the eve before the event, featuring a rather unique group. Outside of the King himself, there was a Healer who had made a vow to never cast resurrect, a child of nobility claiming some rather unlikely accomplishments, an unarmored Warrior, and a bevy of other unique characters.
As the pre-festival party began to rage into the night, King Kaads declared after some drink that he was sick of waiting and would be Knighting Bremen ahead of schedule. As the present Knights began the ceremony a powerful spell was cast from the shadows and all in attendance were frozen [Note for the Spell Scholars, I believe this to be a rather unique take on Stun magic as we also seemingly could not be harmed while under its effects. See subreport C for more details]. It was then a group of cultists made their presence known and used their power to damage the Relic known as the Star of Polaris, which apparently was real after all. After the attack King Kaads vowed to join the adventurers as they took the countryside to stop whatever plan the Cultists had.
The next day various Scouting groups would report back to the castle and Sir Belthil would direct the adventures to follow up on the reports. As per normal I would escort various groups as they left to follow up on these reports. While many of the Cultist encampments featured powerful individuals and some casualties were sustained, many victories were claimed in the name of Polaris. In particular I was able to witness the "Badge Ceremony" of the Freedom Troop 952, which seemed to award individual accomplishments both in and out of combat [Note for the Household Scholars, see subreport B for more details on this ritual]. The Cultists themselves seemed almost immune to bargaining, more interested in covering the world in fire, disease, and general Chaos. While their beliefs and overall organization was a bit hard to define, what I was able to recover of their manuals and teaching was turned over to the Heretical Scholars per protocol.
By days end of what was supposed to have been the festival, the cultists appeared to have been mostly defeated with a majority of their Lieutenants and summoned Demons defeated. Their leader had avoided capture all day but our worst fears were realized when he attacked the Castle directly. Whatever overall plan they had was thwarted by the adventurer's Questing, however they appeared to desire taking as many of us with them as they could. To my horror the Leader was casting some sort of modified Doomsday spell through a portal made of dark energy. As many of you reading this report would know, the secrets to casting the Doomsday spell have long since been lost and to see it on the field of battle (let alone a more powerful modified version) was disturbing [Note for the Heretical Scholars, observations on the casting of this along with the leftover residue are in packed A24]. Immediately the Adventurers sprung into action and it was at this point I felt it necessary to enter the field of battle myself. Further casualties were sustained and we were on the verge of dealing the death blow to the Cultist Leader when the casting of Ultimate Doomsday was successful. I am deeply saddened to report that heavy and severe casualties were taken from the casting of this spell and significant damage was done to the Castle and surrounding lands. While some of us were able to get powerful enough protection magics up in time, many did not and attempts to resurrect those we could were unsuccessful.
While we failed to stop the casting of the spell the group took solace that we were able to stop the deeper plot and forced the cultists to such desperate measures. For his service to the Kingdom and his assistance on the battlefield, King Kaads got the surviving members together and Knighted Sir Bremen vowing that we would work to ensure such tragedy would not happen again. As I was leaving the next day members were still taking stock of the damage done to the lands and the Castle itself. While it is unclear if the Castle is salvageable the surrounding lands are at high risk of demonic taint. At the Kings request I got word to the Adventurers Guild on my way back to the Institute. Even if the Castle must be abandoned I strongly recommend a research team be sent to the area with a Adventurers Bodyguard contingent to gather whatever additional information we can about healing the Curse upon the land as well as figuring out where in the Hells that cult found the secrets to the Doomsday spell. Perhaps the Spelljocks can be contacted for help in this."