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The Pencen Pilgrimage is a piece of Story and Lore found in the Tree of Skill.

 

Word had reached Remetia that an envoy of Askarian nobles, accompanied by at least three score of armored guardsmen, pikemen, and arbalesters, would soon be approaching the small city. The city's holy warriors numbered 29 battle-ready paladins and 33 clerics.

  • The Pencen Pilgrimage, s. 3.

 

The goal of the envoy was known: they would rededicate places of worship in Remetia to The Three, relocate images and shrines of Devara to pre-approved locations in the city's periphery, and disarm any paladins of Devara who did not wish to take the oath of the new gods.

  • The Pencen Pilgrimage, s. 4.

 

And so the council of clerics and paladins of Devara discussed their options. Kneeling to the Askarian crown was out of the question. Fighting the envoy could doom the city.

  • The Pencen Pilgrimage, s. 5.

 

The lord of Remetia had already kneeled to the Askarian crown, and his guardsmen were loyal to King Ericho IV, descendent of Ericho the Austere, as well. The Pilgrimage of those loyal to Devara would have to occur in secret.

  • The Pencen Pilgrimae, s. 7.

 

Remetians loyal to Devara spread news of the Pilgrimage in secret. One would use his foot to make an arc in the sand. If the other was loyal, he would likewise make an arc, completing a circle, the sign of the sun, the greatest source of light. And so news of the pilgrimage spread.

  • The Pencen Pilgrimage, s. 8.

 

Mina was a Birian paladin in the lead of the pack of nearly 800 men, women and childrenthat would be known as the Pencen Pilgrimage. Flanked by the cleric Doramin Tolls, her close friend, she had marched for a night and half a day north through the forests that spanned the unclaimed land between Liven and Remetia.

  • The Pencen Pilgrimage, s. 11.

 

She was hot under her heavy mail and thick surcoat, and the shade didn't seem to do enough to stifle the hot summer sun, but her training had giver her the discipline endure far worse. Doramin Tolls was not hiding his discomfort quite as easily.

  • The Pencen Pilgrimage, s. 12.

 

The sun would set soon, and Mina and Doramin, leading the pack, would have to scout out a perimeter to accomodate a camp of nearly 800 people. Doramin whistled a signal to the paladins further down the line, then they both set off into the woods.

  • The Pencen Pilgrimage, s. 14.

 

The woods between Liven and Remetia were filled with dangerous beasts and marauding tribes, but Mina was more concerned with Askarian scouts.

  • The Pencen Pilgrimage, s. 15.

 

The two stood motionless behind the rocky ledge. Mina's face burned with fury, and Doramin's eyes pleaded that she stay still. They were outnumbered and outmatched. But the rightous fire of a paladin is a difficult thing to quench. Mina charged.

  • The Pencen Pilgrimage, s. 19.

 

It was four to two, and Doramin was no match for an armored knight, but Mina had the divine light of Devara at her back. She charged shield-first into the first Night Raider, sending him stumbling off balance, his blade flailing to the side.

  • The Pencen Pilgrimage, s. 20.

 

She put her full weight into driving her spiked mace into the Night Raider's face. It connected with a sick crunch of metal and bone, lodging itself in the eye slits of the Night Raider's helm.

  • The Pencen Pilgrimage, s. 21.

 

Whispering words of faith, Mina felt a peace as Devara's divine light filled her weapon until it reached a hotly glowing crescendo, turning the Night Raider's helm into a scene of carnage that far too closely resembled a kicked pot of burnt tomato soup.

  • The Pencen Pilgrimage, s. 22.

 

'He died for a false god,' she said angrily, unflichingly. Her composure was more ironclad than the knight whose head she had just reduced to red paste. 'Doramin. Armor.' The cleric spoke words of faith, and Mina's paladin's plate began to glow.

  • The Pencen Pilgrimage s. 23.

 

The first Night Raider reached her before the other two, but he'd mistimed his approach. Her glowing spiked mace, blessed with Devara's eternal fury, crashed across his left temple, sending him sprawling into the leaves, a trickle of blood falling from his deeply dented helm.

  • The Pencen Pilgrimage, s. 24.

 

At last, a Night Raider overreached, giving her just enough room to maneuver. She slammed her mace, glowing with divine vengeance, down on his outstretched sword arm. He fell back in a shower of sparks, grunting with the blow, then wailing in surprise. His couter was crushed, his vambrace-clad forearm bent the wrong way from his elbow at a nearly right angle.

  • The Pencen Pilgrimage, s. 27.

 

Mina swung her mace backhanded toward the iron helm of the last Night Raider standing, but he shifted to bring up his abomination-crested shield, deflecting her blow in a furious shower of sparks, using the staggering momentum to thrust his own blade through her chest.

  • The Pencen Pilgrimage, s. 28.

 

Speaking words of faith, Doramin braced his foot against Mina's pauldron. A warm light descended upon the two. 'Now,' she wheezed.

  • The Pencen Pilgrimage, s. 33.

 

He pulled with all of his might, and the blade wrest free of her chest. The wound sprayed blood for the barest moment, and then it was gone. Mina sucked in air.

  • The Pencen Pilgrimage, s. 34.

 

The noble cleared his throat. 'It has been ordered by King Ericho IV, heir of the Askarian crown, descendent of the true-' Bel cut him off. 'Get on with it, boy.

  • The Pencen Pilgrimage, s. 41.

 

For a moment, the noble's face registered shock. But the privileged pomp of an Ariskarian noble quickly crept back over it. 'We require the two nobles among you,' he declared, 'and your steel.'

  • The Pencen Pilgrimage, s. 42.

 

From the crowd, Erodan of Sylven and Emiella of Orange looked up in astonishement. The crown had already stripped them of their titles when they refused to kneel to the new gods. But before they could react, Bel responded. 'Out of the question,' she said.

  • The Pencen Pilgrimage, s. 43.

 

Bel calmly strode toward the mounted noble, through the line of confused guards. She was a woman of nearly 80, gray and bowed with age, and the Askarian troops looked to their captain, who in turn looked to the noble. His expression was one of frozen fear. Should he have her beheaded for insubordination? Grannyslayer, they'd call him. Cowed by Crones.

  • The Pencen Pilgrimage, s. 44.

 

'All followers of the true goddess are free to follow her,' she said. Her eyes rolled back in her head. She continued toward the noble.

  • The Pencen Pilgrimage, s. 45.

 

'The flame absolves you,' she croaked. In a flash, a brilliant column of light erupted from where she fell, extending endlessly into the clouds, expanding in heat and light and thundrous sound. Bodies, arbalests, swords, shields, helm and debris were sent scattering from the blast.

  • The Pencen Pilgrimage, s. 47.

 

Other paladins and clerics had engaged the remaining Askarian footmen, pitting mace against sword, old gods against new. Mina's mace crashed through helm after helm as the battlefield around her exploded with the clerics glowing flashes of divine light.

  • The Pencen Pilgrimage, s. 50.

 

The last Askarian fell to a crushing blow from Wen, a heavily scarred, black-bearded paladin. The others began to survey the scene. Mina gasped: some of the peasants that had been knocked prone by the blast had begun to stir.

  • The Pencen Pilgrimage, s. 51.

 




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