Fancy along with five other women and Morti were brought into the nursing wing of the temple to Shelyn, Goddess of love and Fancy’s patron. Labor had been slow-coming and painful for all of them. Fancy noticed the way they looked at them and her in particular. They told her that she was carrying a boy, but there was something else that worried them, something they did not share with their paladin. It was odd that all of these pregnancies seemed to be in the same state and all seemed to be running late by weeks! Morti was the least pleasant of the expectant “mothers” with his constant whining.
Morti: “Awww geez … child birth looks terrible. All that labored breathing is really going to do a number on my asthma. Plus, when I’m nervous I get gaaaasssy! And don’t get me started about hygiene of the delivery room – oi vey! Do you know who the doctor will be? I’d like to see his credentials. These days, any two bit schmuck can become a healer. Also, if it’s a boy he’ll need a bris. I know it’s a weird thing to do, but what can i say – it’s tradition. My mother – the Gods rest her soul – would be put in an early grave if I didn’t do it. In any case, I doubt you’ll find a proper Mohel, so just make sure the doctor doesn’t accidentally chop off his weewee … that would be aaawful. Awwww geez, all this talk is making me very very nervous, and you know what that means …”
The mothers were eventually ready to give birth … all of them at once! Morti required a c-section. They were in great pain, so much so that even Fancy could not remain conscious. They each passed out. Fancy awoke first, she was nauseous and in horrible pain but she came to her senses because of the crying babies and the screaming. All of the other mothers were still unconscious. She struggled out of bed and stumbled to the next room’s doorway to check on the commotion. She shook away the nausea, reducing it to sickness. There were several hooded men in the room. One crawled out the window carrying a bundled baby under each arm. The other two each stood over one of the priestess midwives that lay in pools of their own blood. The one priestess that still moaned softly was silenced when the man over her jabbed his kukri into her again. They spotted Fancy watching and one man advanced on her with his blade. The other seemed unconcerned and went about sprinkling a powder around the room. Fancy did her best to catch the man leaving with the babies. She knew one of them must be hers. All seven of the cribs in the room were empty. When she suffered a stab but made it out the window she watched the hooded figure along with several others slipping away down the alley carrying the babies. She cried out for help and tried to pursue them but lost them quickly. The city guard and the temple guard took her reports. They tended to the midwives who both miraculously survived. Fancy wanted answers and demanded to speak with the high priest. He told the whole story, that she was tainted with evil as were all the pregnant mothers. Something was very unnatural about the children they carried but they feared for their safety so they treated them and tried to help with a safe delivery. It turned out that wasn’t enough. The demonic children held a dark link to their mothers, feeding on their energy (effectively draining their levels). This kept Morti in a coma, left Fancy weakened considerably but killed the others. There was also a mark left on all the mothers and found on the cribs of the missing infants. The symbol was of a black bat-like creature with red eyes. It was more of a brand on Fancy’s stomach that held the potential to interfere with her holy blessings from the goddess. She also learned of her sister’s recent death and received the family heirloom sword. Still Fancy wanted her baby back!
She went for help from the guild with a reward and the blessing of her temple to back her. She selected a team. Courage the half orc fighter, Dawn the deaf human oracle, Than the goblin necromancer, Djelzeem the human rogue and Fursifer the halfling rogue. The party immediately set about gathering information. They visited several temples around the city (Sarenrae, Pharasma, and Abbadar) and learned of similar incidents occurring there too. The babies were all stolen and the midwives and mothers more often than not were slain. Even some of the priestesses of Pharasma were missing, but the offer of aid the head priestess originally offered was revoked when Than offended them by praising Urgathoa, his Goddess, and their mortal enemy inside the temple. So the group was kicked out instead.
Than eventually identified the symbol they had found and told them it belonged to a cult dedicated to Soul Eater the Demon Lord. The tale was of a demon Lord banished long ago by those that formed this branch of the guild. That name was also familiar to him since he was there when his teammates accidentally released that demon lord from his prison in the Cairnlands a few months back. This cult was composed entirely of fanatical teifling. In the tales the goblin knew, they magically impregnated women then collected the demonspawn offspring when they were born to serve their cult. Some were born as abominations, some were the teifling they desired and some other rare few were born entirely normal. The demon spawn were supposed to grow quickly reaching adulthood in months. They switched tactics since the hooded figures seemed to share demonic traits and the link to the babies was apparently demonic and evil in nature. Djelzeem, having arrived from far shores by ship, knew of a bar at the edges of the docks called The Hallows that was dedicated to teifling patrons. They thought it might be a good idea to try asking around there. While the humans, Fancy, Dawn and Djelzeem waited outside, Than, Courage and Fursifer slipped into the dimly lit bar to gather a little more information. The teiflings inside seemed wary of the outsiders. They whispered in the shadows and eyed them cautiously. Courage made straight for the main bar and began chatting up the bartender and owner in a not-so-subtle half orc fashion. The man was less than friendly. Fursifer and Than tried working as a team and took seats next to a lone teifling trying to gain his favor by buying him drinks. He only spoke to them in Abyssal so Than and the man had a grand conversation about halfling delicacies while Fursier struggled to make out the conversation and tried to present the man with the cult symbol by scratching it into the table. This made everyone nervous. Their dealings with the man ended in them being cast way and Than spilling the man’s drink in his lap “accidentally”. When a tiefling arrived from outside and joined a group in the corner both of the small folk decided there might be some trouble. Fursifer moved to the front door, opened it up and called to the humans “I think we found our guys!” That launched the bar into chaos. The quartet in the corner were indeed cult members and attacked immediately. They injured Than horribly and also hurt Fursifer. Than pulled back to his allies and cast sleep into the room. Unfortunately he only managed to drop Fursifer with his spell. They traded blows and Courage found himself inside alone and flanked by cult rogues stabbing him to the point that he dropped to the floor bleeding and unconscious. Dawn dropped a magical mist which shielded their retreat but also camouflaged the enemy. The party was divided and trying to bring down the cultists before they escaped while the bartender sent for the city guard. Than scared away the leader of the band in the alley outside and one other fled but they did bring down two cultists and carried them away for questioning. Dawn healed and retrieved Courage. Then she channeled to heal everyone since they were all pretty dinged up. When they were unsatisfied with their results of the threats and questioning they took them to the temple of Pharasma for further interrogation. The answers gained let them know where to look for one of the secret bases and that a ritual at midnight would be used to sacrifice the one normal baby. Fancy was worried it might be hers and they headed to the rescue.
Once at the cult hideout, they slipped in using stealth and worked as a team to surprise the demon mother. Courage interrupted her ceremony which saved the one normal human baby. Three abomination babies were here and attacked while two teifling babies huddled at the back of the room by their new mother. The remaining cultists that escaped earlier returned to add to the massive combat. Everyone fought with the rogues, Fursifer and Djelzeem, working together to flank and whittle down the enemy, Dawn using her magic and even rescuing the human baby, Fancy facing off with the abominations and the demon mother and Than tossing his spells into the mix to shake things up. Courage was cursed by the demon mother priestess, Than was spit on with adhesive spittle by the teifling baby boy and a group of them were sonic blasted by the teifling baby girl. The babies were defending their mother. Courage unleashed a huge assault and slashed the baby girl in half. Fancy was none too happy about that or the fact that the three abomination babies were laid to the ground too. She knew one of these was her baby – Damien. Delia, Morti’s little girl, turned out to be the teifling baby girl that Courage slaughtered but by doing so he set Morti free of the curse. The fight turned in their favor. They ended this hideout of the cultists, gained their reward from the temple and returned with two baby boys, one human and the other teifling. Fancy learned that the teifling baby was Damien. She sought the help of the temple to remove the cursed link between them and set her baby free of his ties to his unholy father, Soul Eater. Now her child is growing and quickly. Damien will be a young adult in a matter of months. His mother has already begun the process of training him and teaching him so that he too can join The Guild, wield the family heirloom sword and carry on her family name in honor of her late sister Gidget.
Fancy, Fursifer, Courage, Dawn, Djelzeem each earned 1118xp
Morti earned 200xp