East of Winter

The Battle of the Iron Bound Timber
The Giants War Continues

 

Sir Finnian Ravenfray sat patiently at the Gutsy Gatherer waiting for the next expedition to begin. Before his slight buzz could cross over into really drunk, a very dangerous set of adventurers strode through the doors. At their head, the Elven Evoker Alcadizzar, a wizard he had heard many legendary stories about, but Al seemed like a very reasonable Elf to Finn. Alcadizzar briefly questioned Finn about the Rune he captured from the Giant Temple of Hontun Shur, and asked if Fin would join them to fight more giants. Happy to oblige Finn readily agreed, Save them or Fight them as was needed. The others present included the Tiefling Paladin of Rolar Abaraxia "Abby" O'Connor, another whom Finn had heard much of, but in person she left him thinking she was as brave, and as powerful a Warrior as he had ever dreamed of. Fenriss, he recalled from Kawli talking about her at some length, though he couldn't recall her telling him Fenris had such a magnificent perhaps even "dwarvish" beard.  She also seemed to have swapped from being an archer to throwing a really amazingly looking Hammer. Next was the Golden Dragonborn Fighter Tarhuun, as one of the other Fighters in the area Fin had heard of him from Jelder.  A brave and Stalwart knight if there ever was one. Last but not least was the an Actor turned adventurer Halmidor Something(?), Fin was never really sure, as he rarely made it out to the theater, and as the party teleported about half hour after convening, formal introductions were skipped.  

Upon teleporting they found themselves in large area of 10 foot walls, lit at regular interval by torches. As it became clear the party preferred stealth to being bolder targets, Fin began using the magic of the Illud rune to snuff the torches in the area.  Making it difficult for the Hill giants patrolling the area to see. Having spent 6 months helping a giant spirit carve a temple to giants, Fin was confident he had a good understanding of Giantkind, and so felt comfortable completing their ambush by lighting a fire about 100 feet away from them, sending the guard patrol scurying towards the sudden illumination. 

  The Fight ended almost as soon as it began, the Actor turned adventurer grievously wounded the giant on the left, with some very effective attack, Fin didn't see due to the darkness, and also did something equally effecting if perhaps not as deadly to the one right. Charging forward Fin dispatched the one of the left quickly doing the little that needed to be done to finish it,  and other guard as also finished off, by the remainder of the group. Fin again missed the specific due to distance and near complete darkness.

While their ambush was a total success, the other giantish defenders were equally quick to re-act. As the ground shook, as 9 giants ran towards the area the party had just created. Attempting to regroup, Fin followed his ears towards where he thought the rest of the party stood, but soon found him self in the dangerous position of spoiling their counter ambush, if he stepped any further into light of the fire he created to draw in previous patrol. Not wanting to blow the plan, Fin froze and readied to attack any foe that came into reach. 

What followed was confusion, blades, magic and darkness. The next clear thing Fin perceived beyond some flash, thuds, cries of pain, and maybe a bolder or two, was Paladin Abby's flame tongue light up, and then she charge far enough away that her sword become to dim to see. Fin charged a pair of giants who stepped into the area of the fire he was next to. Then just as things seemed like they might be getting a little on the dangerous side, Fenriss leaped in and saved the day. Fin had no idea of the nature of the magic  the tiefling ranger used. but it seemed to render all but one of the enemy nearly completely senseless. Some 12 seconds later they dispatched the only one to resist, and finished off the those effected by whatever magic Fenriss had employed. 

The next waves were equally quick to respond, ogres, direwolves, and giantish artillery support, breached a section of the wall, and began to poor into the battle field. This time each of the enemy combatants carried torches. While the last battle had been a confusion of darkness and sudden bloodshed, this fight was a true battle. Enemies pressed in. Except for his time in that goblin village facing a seemingly endless series of undead, Fin could not recall a battle as heated as this.  Alcadizzar summoned a great wall of flame to divide up the enemy forces and caught most of the direwolves, in the conflagration. 

Fin called his battle cry and struck, cutting down an ogre but soon found himself, pined in by three more. Bloodied by his foes, he prepared to meet his ancestors, until a fireball flashed around him, and one of his attackers was stuck down by Tarhuun. Freed from the flank, Fin was able to finish the two remaining ogres, and turned to see Alcadizzar struck from the sky by a bolder. While the battle raged on, it was clear most of the foes being dealt with. Fin sprinted towards the wall, hoping to find the Giants throwing the bolders. 

As he reached the wall, a Alcadizzar finished a loud and complex chant, and suddenly a tornado appeared on top of the giant he had been running towards. Switching direction he then headed towards the other long ranged attacker. Before he could reach the target Abby borrowing Alcadizzar's disc reached the giant and attack it, and Fenriss and the actor finish the remaining one with bow shots. 

Upon the battle's completion the party burned the dead, and divided up a great deal of treasure. Fin was shocked at the speed this new method of adventuring, only  a couple hours ago he had been mile and miles away, even the powerful air walking spells Cicada Song employed which up until this trip had seemed like the fastest way to travel in history was suddenly replaced by a method he found hard to internalize. With the ability to move like this, suddenly so many things seemed possible, and how his order had been successful in defending struck him as  a shock. Was such magic blocked by the winterlands?

This and many other thoughts distracted Fin as he turned for home. 

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Observational Report for Lady Vladryn Gavollath
deserts and faeries and gnolls, oh my
Aunt Vladryn,

Each time I believe I have the surfacer world figured out, something even stranger crosses my path. I sometimes yearn for the quiet serenity of Gavoll, where everything had a purpose and everything made sense, but I know it is vital for us to know what we missed and to re-establish links to the surface, and so I will stay and continue to report.

My efforts to communicate with Bubbles (the “horse” I mentioned last time) continue, though I have yet to be able to re-create the sounds of her language, and attempts to teach her primordial were…unsuccessful. We are getting along through gestures and affectionate touch (she likes it when I comb her mane and feed her sugar, and sometimes nuzzles my shoulder). One of my new surfacer friends told me that the saddle and bit and bridle are uncomfortable for horses (I removed them immediately, of course! If only Bubbles could have told me!). She does seem happier without them.

I accompanied Isilmar and Harwen and Lulu and several new friends to a place called a ‘desert’. Aunt, it is horrific. It’s so hot and, there is no water anywhere, except occasionally there is an illusion of water, which is meant to pull you into a trap. Also, it is filled with enormous bugs called scorpions that try to bite and poison, and giant stompy creatures called elephants. We were there intending to speak to a king who had a meteorite which they needed to turn into a key. I think. I was mostly there for observational purposes, though I believe my observations of the desert will be sufficient for all tritons for centuries. There is no need for us to go there.

I had to return to Cradle briefly for the ritual to St. Tethys, and while I was in town, overheard a town guard bemoaning some missing scouts and the fact that he had no one to go look for them. In no hurry to return to that terrible desert place (and of course unwilling to let the poor scouts go unrescued), I volunteered to go and look for them, as did an elf named Kithylsylphestras. He is the friend I mentioned before, who told me about the saddle; he seems to know a great deal and be able to talk to almost anything. Also, his hair looks nearly oceanic- I wonder if he’s related to any sea elves? Haven’t seen any surfacers with green hair before.

Anyway, the scouts had disappeared south of Cradle, so we traveled there with Bubbles and his horse Freckles. At first, it all seemed very like the other adventures I’ve been on, trees, travel, and bright sunlight. Until we reached the border of the forest, where things started to get…weird.

We stumbled on two people under attack by gnolls (Kithyl tells me I should not call them “dog-people” as apparently there are other surfacers who are more like dogs who are people and would be really offended if I called them the same as gnolls), and fought them off and healed the two injured men. There was another, a girl, hidden in a bush. She laughed, but not because there was anything funny. She’d clearly seen horrors, poor thing. Kithyl was able to relieve some of the strain on her mind, at least, before we sent her and the two guards back to the safety of town; maybe she will be able to get some healing sleep in peace.

Before they left, they were able to give us some idea of what we were walking into. It seems the forest belongs to someone called “Queen Mab”. Kithyl seems familiar with her, perhaps she is from the same country as the Lord Oberon he serves? The gnolls were not supposed to be there, though, and were what had attacked both this party and likely the missing scouts, so it was necessary to enter the forest.
 
The Queen has very specific rules for those passing through her lands, but luckily Kithyl was there to explain the customs to me before I accidentally blundered into something. Most importantly, we had to stay on the path, marked out in distinct white gravel. What was beside the path looked like forest, but wasn’t, really. Or it was a different forest, in a different place, and not necessarily always the same different forest. Things got a little fuzzy, I’ll be honest. It was most disconcerting.

We fought more gnolls as we came across them- it seems some of them are in league with demons, and some are hideous dead creatures walking, and some throw darkness clouds around and attack people dishonorably from within them, and overall, I think I must recommend we do not attempt to ally with the gnolls. They are not our type of people.
 
Some of the denizens of the forest (creatures called “faeries”) did attempt to ally with the gnolls and betray their Queen. It did not go well for them. She sent this wizard called Auliotte, who took distinct offense to the betrayal and slew a couple of them while they were attacking us. Kithyl clearly knew her- she is some sort of Lady amongst his people (do they all have blue and green hair?)- and they agreed to team up to root out the traitors and gnolls and reclaim the forest. I think I may try to reach out to their people next- if Kithyl and Auliotte are any indication, they are quite powerful, and also seem to understand hospitality and guest-right and the importance of accepting others’ culture (which is…refreshing).

We all traveled deeper into the woods, a long, strange way, broken by traps and sounds trying to tempt us from the path. And then we found the scouts. They had been hung up, and their hearts, and their blood…I will not describe it. Suffice it to say, it was clearly blood magic of the darkest sort, a conclusion supported by the spellbook/ritual plan we found on one of the gnolls after we slew it. They are trying to summon someone they call the Blood Lord, and the only way to do so involves the sacrificial deaths of hundreds of people.

We tracked the creatures to a central glade, where we found a number of not-yet slain humanoids, along with giant effigy figures, and, once we started freeing the prisoners, a number of especially nasty gnolls. Between the three of us, we were able to slay them all, though at one point Kithyl went down and I was really worried, but then something very fast and flying came and gave him a potion and then he was fighting again. I still don’t know quite what happened there, but I’m glad it did. Someone watching?

They had a whole chest of hearts, and jugs of blood, so we had to dispose of those as best we could. I wish we could have buried the victims properly, but how do you bury someone in so many pieces? I said a prayer to Persana, and to whatever surfacer gods might be listening. I can only hope it is enough for their tormented souls.

Kithyl and I brought the survivors back to Cradle; Auliotte chose to remain in the forest to defend against whatever remnants of the gnolls or the traitor faeries might remain. I would be afraid to remain there alone, but something in her expression suggested it should probably be they who should be afraid. Kithyl seemed fine with it, so I’m sure she’ll be okay.

And now, Aunt, I am afraid I must return to the desert. I did promise to help with the quest, and my word is my bond…even if deserts are hideous hellscapes. If I survive it again, I shall write soon.

All my love to the family.

Your loving niece,
Caeryn 
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The ballad of hefty Harwen
Rat magic, goblin gangs, lost inheritence

(This conversation was overheard at a tavern where Harwen was talking to his beer very loudly)

Poor Harwen.  Everything I touch, it turns to shit.  I inherit big house from Aunt Nana, but  Goblins burn it down.  I find some friends, but they horse thieves.  Arrive in town safe from goblins, but no drinking allowed.  A fate worse than death!  Poor Harwen. sniffles interrupted by belching

My friend Islemar returns.  You remember him, he is the horse thief.  He makes big important friends while away.  How you make friends when you no talk?  Oh Islemar talks, he just no like talk to Harwen.  They bring me before queen, I tell her tale of poor Harwen.  She cares.  This is the most surprising part ah Harwen's tale.  She likes part about  family and evil rat magic.  This is Harwen's most not favorite part.  Harwen don't do rat magic.  I tell her so.  She sends us on quest anyway.  There are elephants.

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Flame Dragon Quest
Giant Alliance

(Penned in red ink by Alcadizzar)

Dear Dream Journal,

I was recently contacted by Culsixreal, the brass dragon who originally asked us to clear out the sunken keep.  We sought out his lair where he warned us of a great danger.  There is an alliance of Frost, Fire and Hill Giants.  They have amassed a great army.  Their goal is to destroy Cradle, the Knights of Solaris, and possibly all medium humanoid life as we know it.

I knew it was only a matter of time before this giant threat reared its ugly head and I took a strike force of adventurers to investigate.  We found the hill giant lair.  They are using manticores and ogres to bolster their forces.  We stole their loot, killed the Hill Giant matriarch and set the wooden fort on fire.  We discovered a magical device that can teleport us to the frost giant lair, although we are being cautious about using it on account of the high probability that it is a trap.

Through divination magic I have discovered that the Frost Giant Jarl who we dealt with previously is involved in this giant war machine.  After his unsatisfactory dealings with us he ran and told his daddy.  Daddy is a bigger, meaner, more powerful giant who sits on a throne adorned with silver dragon skins.  He views the hill giants as expendable and is using them to probe our defenses before he commits his elite forces.  He doesn't have all of his pieces in place yet, and some disruptive strikes could cause his army to fall apart before it fully forms.

Ideally we would strike back with two teams.  One to finish off the hill giants, and another to probe the frost giant's northern forces.  Culsixreal has promised treasure from his hoard for adventurers that complete his quest.

*Footnote: The sahaguin are using dragon turtles and shark herds to terrorize the waters north of pier town.  Fenriss lost the crew to one of her ships to their savagery.  A stronger navy will be necessary to secure our coast.

 

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Happy Holidays
Commissioned Character Art for Everyone!

 

 

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At long last
Admiral's Log: Stardate 95573.62

For the first time in a long while, longer than I can remember, I feel hopeful. I am reluctant to give myself over to this feeling, but I am optimistic that the time is drawing nigh to put to rest the beast that has plagued my existence for so long. The device my sistren and I discovered as we delved below the muck shall be a valuable weapon in the inevitable battle. For now, I shall keep it secret and safe, for there are those who would use it for their own selfish aims.

It is my hope that once we have dispatched the beast that has wreaked havoc on my life and on Yera's life, we shall more readily and easily deal with Aby's troublesome parent. But we must not get ahead of ourselves. First, we must disarm the harpy by destroying her weapon. That must be our focus now.

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Reflections on a Post-Battle Morning
Personal Diary Entry
This is the first moment I’ve had in near a week to sit down for a moment and reflect. I feel like my head might explode. So much has changed, so much more is clear, and yet…

The orcs came to Cradle, the army they were massing brought to bear on the town itself. I had hoped to disrupt it, or meet it in the field between Barkhamstead and our own walls, but the world doesn’t often grant wishes, I've found. 

The first night of the battle…a blurred memory of fire and blade, defending the town hall and the breach at the gate, orcs to near every side of me. We fought until there was nothing left for us to give, until the sun began to rise and the waves of orcs pulled back… and then, I think, I fell asleep where I stood, though I woke in the temple to prepare for the second night. 

They came in a horde, trying to overwhelm us at the break in the wall, and I was surrounded and grievously wounded before I could even plant my feet against their assault, but I am a paladin of Rhollor and I will not be defeated by a great bunch of dirty orcs. I called up a shield of my faith, crackling with golden fire, and swung my sword until their numbers were more manageable, and I will say I took out a fair many of them. But there were always so many more, an endless stream, pouring out of that damnable fog. I’ve had this nightmare before. It’s worse in real life. 

I do not know if we would have survived the night without the elementals. We definitely wouldn’t have without the magic Cicada brought to bear against their wizards; that’s what broke their lines, ultimately. They have pulled back further since Remidon sent their shiny soldiers to parade about on our walls, but it is a temporary reprieve. More, and worse, will come for us soon. But at least…a moment to rest. To think

Imildrak was confronted at last, and is captured and back in jail. But he was there before, and they failed to hold him then, so I dare not relax my guard. That Soraya is gone too, fled from town the same day, Gods only know what she plans. The threat they represent is not dormant until she is safely imprisoned also. I felt the spell she attempted to cast on me, a fog of mindless rage threatening to overtake my will, and I don’t need to know the details of her magic to know what she intended; Imildrak has certainly threatened to use me against Alcadizzar often enough (though he will find, as she did, that my determination on that front is far beyond his skill).
 
It’s obvious she’ll actively work against us for Imildrak’s sake, and we cannot leave her at large. And she has betrayed us, that much I know, though I do not yet understand to whom. It doesn’t matter, there is nothing that would make her actions understandable. 

Then, the news Yera and Cicada brought, the greater plans becoming clear at last. The Abandoned, a lich, but a lich for reasons I can understand, a life spent standing against, the light against the dark. He has extended his own life so that he can continue to battle those who cannot be allowed to return; aren’t I hoping to do the very same? But what he is, what he has done for that life, is that not unquestionable evil? How can I reconcile that with my own role, flame of righteous fury, destroyer of the wicked, if I allow him to continue to exist? 

And, of all the evils he binds…her. If I choose not to destroy the Abandoned, am I doing it for selfish reasons, to avoid my own destiny? Every choice I make is a move in our greater battle, and I can never know if they are leading me closer to or further from victory. She wants my heart and soul and I have no idea if it’s even possible for me to ultimately resist. I believe myself to be strong, but she is so much more than me. Thank the Gods I will not face her alone. I believe I would be lost without him. 

We have had a clear victory in the Crackhammer Peaks, in any case, which are free of the despotic slaver King Barbedbeard. The city is back in dwarven hands, and under the rule of the Crackhammer family once more. I’ve offered sanctuary to those former slaves who might not wish to remain in the place of their imprisonment, though perhaps Cradle is not as much of a sanctuary as once it was. But it will be so again. We will rebuild, and grow stronger, and stand tall against our enemies, wheresoever they may come from. 

I refuse to allow any other outcome.
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Conquering Crackhammer
Arch de Triomphe

(Penned in red ink by Alcadizzar.)

Dear Dream Journal,

Today I led a second expedition to the Crackhammer Peaks.  Before we had come to sabotage.  This time we came to conquer.  In all fairness some of our number were there for the shiny bits, I may have played up the wealth of the Duergar to attract more interest in the mission.  Runt, Nocturne, Fenriss, Aby and myself embarked on this holy quest to wrest control of Crackhammer from the Duergar and return it to it's rightful dwarven owners.

Whoever said getting there is half the fun didn't have a helm of teleportation.  BAMF!  We arrived in the Duergar Forge with a puff of smoke.  It had been repaired, but was not in use.  I used my tools to disarm a pressure plate trap and unlock the door.  I find the intricate movements of small mechanical devices to be a cathartic discipline.  It soothes me in a way that is hard to describe.

We encountered and dispatched some defenders in the cramped tunnels.  The resistance became stiffer as we drew near the captive worker quarters.  We armed the predominately dwarven population with Duergar forged weapons.  We bade the workers to hole up in their quarters and protect themselves lest the Duergar attempt to exact retribution on them for our attack.  We learned that two members of Dwarven royalty had been executed in response to our last foray.  Runt found that he had siblings in the same breath that he discovered they were lost forever.

Fenriss helped us avoid most of the Duergar patrols.  I have been opposed to stealth in the past…however a friend has taught me to see trickery in a different light recently.  It isn't my favorite tactic, but I begrudgingly admit that it was more effective than announcing my presence with fire and fury (in this isolated instance).

We entered the city proper.  A stepped landscape of imposing ziggarats, gothic accents and lava flows.  It is a beautiful city and I highly recommend it as a travel destination.  Here we met the disembodied visage of Barbedbraid, the Duergar demagogue who currently sat on the throne of Crackhammer.  He mostly mocked Runt whilst inadvertently giving away information.  It concerned me that the illusion could hear, understand and reply to us, it meant his magics were more formidable than the phantasm initially suggested.  The conversation abruptly ended when the Duergar dictator called upon his minions to release the Kaiju!

From the lava flows the form of a molten wyvern rose dramatically and flew straight towards us.  Duergar soldiers scattered for cover as the Kaiju's shadow spread over the city.  Molten fire dripped from the monster's teeth and a malevolent intelligence burned in its eyes.  I knew that it was too hot to burn, even for one of Rhollor's famously hot fireballs.  I reached deeper into my soul flame and tapped into a heat so intense that even the magma Kaiju could not resist it.  My beam disintegrated the hard outer shell of the magma wyvern, leaving its vitals exposed.  Fenriss finished off the beast with some well placed arrows into this soft spot.  The foul creature drew its last breath before it could breathe on us.

We crossed over an intricate lava bridge and dispatched some…Duergar calvalry astride giant mole mounts?  They were tenacious creatures but we were able to put them down.  From the bridge we could see dwarven heads on spikes.  No doubt Runt's relations of whom the captives spoke of.

We made our way to the throne room.  A basalt Ram's head throne.  Menacing Statues.  Elite Minions.  And a princess suspended from the ceiling.  Every detail broadcast the Duergar Despot's calamitous intent.

After some villain banter the fight was quickly joined.  I flew in to save the princess lest she be harmed by area spells less discerning than my own.  "Teleport!" I screamed as I flew off with her on my disc.  She turned out to be Runt's aunt, but she was dressed as his mom?  Dwarven customs are alien to me.

Runt used a maelstrom to flush the room, which ended up being more crucial than we knew because it kept us from wandering too close to the statues.  True to form the statues would attack any that wandered too close.  These Duergar were tough.  They have natural magic resistance that kept them from taking the brunt of our spells. They also had fire resistance*, either because my reputation preceded me, or because it's just a logical precaution in a city filled with liquid hot magma.  In either case they proved very hard to kill.  It looked grim, one of the elite guards was in melee with Fenriss, blocking her shots.  The only thing keeping Abaraxia standing was Nocturne's healing magics. Bravely Aby fought on, she smote down the guard distracting Fenriss.  This in turn gave the tiefling archer an open shot on the other guard.  Just that quick the tables had turned; the big cheese stands alone.

With a parting shot at Runt the villain escaped through a secret passageway leaving nothing but the echoing sounds of his laughter.  As his malign presence left the room the throne turned from black to gold.  Crackhammer has been restored to it's rightful owner.  Long live Runt, King of Crackhammer peaks.  May the warmth of Rhollor grace your hearth.  May the light of Rhollor guide your path.  May the flames of Rhollor smite your enemies

*Fire resistance is not guaranteed to resist the righteous fires of Rhollor.  

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Warning signs
Engraved by Ramathon

A large stone with a crude pictograph can be seen at the beginning of the road from Cradle to the Lodge formerly known as Bear.  It appeared shortly after the orcs raided Cradle.

A grinning gnoll with a mustache and devil horns.

A wagon driven by a peasant painted over with a red circle and slash.

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Blood and Water
Rehab and Redemption

Dear Dream Journal,

Where do I begin?  As I take stock of recent events I am forced to critically examine many of my deeply ingrained assertions that I have mistaken for truth.  The bonds of blood, the worth of life, the role of race.  But I am getting ahead of myself, allow me to explain.

The siege of 1000 orcs continued.  A thick fog hung over cradle, the back gate was sundered, we made our stand at the temple.  Zanath, Cicada and Imildrak perched on the roof.  Nocturne and I hovered by the broken stained glass window.  Aby stood alone in the breach.  Imildrak's retinue of chattering skeletons stood on the temple grounds.

The orcs swarmed in; ill equipped, poorly trained, peasant orcs.  By sheer weight of numbers they were able to severely injure Aby and take down many of the skeletons.  We were able to regain control of the fight with the help of Earth Wind and Fire.  The three powerful elementals summoned by myself, Cicada and Runt wreaked havoc on the orcish lines.  The wind elemental exposed an orcish command section.  The general escaped back into the fog, but many of his honor guard were slain.

We fought bravely, but the orcs just kept marching in under the cover of fog.  Cicada began performing a ritual to restore the weather to its proper pattern, a daunting task considering the power of the control weather spell he was attempting to dispel.  I aided him by mimicking his ritual, repeating the words and capering about after his fashion.  The fog lifted revealing a hoard of orcs tip toeing about and suddenly looking very sheepish.  With their cover blown and their general in flight their ranks devolved into chaos and they were forced to retreat and regroup.

As the orcs retreated into the night I flew to the top of the temple to confront my brother.  The seven bounty hunters revealed themselves as we spoke.  I had convinced the bounty hunters to hold off on attacking Imildrak until he had spent his spells on the orcs.  They had now grown tired of my stalling tactics, they were ready to collect their bounty. 

I told Imildrak that I was taking him back to Remidon to face justice.  The protection I offered was in part referring to insuring that he was brought in alive, and in part was referring to protecting him from himself.  Imildrak promised to "kill us all" and flung himself off of the temple roof.  I could hear him chanting the words to Dimension door as he fell, however, the Forbiddance spell that Cicada had cast earlier thwarted his teleport and left him lying on the ground in a heap. 

Imildrak ordered his two remaining regiments of skeletons to open fire on me.  I was shot repeatedly by a hail of arrows and was left on death's door.  I retreated back through the stained glass window of the temple where Cicada mended my wounds.  Zanath rained down shots from the roof and Aby delivered red hot smiting justice on Imildrak's prone form.  She left him unconscious at the foot of the temple.  Cicada and his air elemental, Mean Gene, sent Imildrak's undead packing. 

Soraya rounded the corner and cast a spell on Aby.  I knew she had a history with Imildrak, but I couldn't bring myself to believe she would openly attack the Order.  I was more concerned about my brother and ignored her spell.  It was Zanath who realized what she had attempted and she fled under his assault.  Luckily Aby did not succumb to the crown of madness that Soraya cast on her.

I dragged my brother's unconscious form outside of the area of the forbiddance spell and teleported us back to Remidon.  I turned him in to the lawfully appointed authorities and told them of all that transpired.  I urged them to be more careful with him this time, and warned them of his co-conspirator who was still on the loose. 

To reward the Knights of Solaris for bringing their rogue agent to justice the Arch magi pulled some strings and helped me with my plan to stall the orcish invasion.  Taking a page out of the orcs play book I created a temporary teleportation circle in Cradle and led a small army of Remidonian soldiers to our aid.  They made a big show of manning the walls and the orcs fell back after this show of force.  The soldiers won't stay forever, but it buys us some time. 

I gave my brother's bounty to Aby.  I'm sure she will distribute it in an equitable fashion to those that assisted in Imildrak's capture.  Aby rewarded me with some of Soraya's hair.  I turned a strand in to the Arch Magi and kept a strand for myself.  This will aid in our efforts to find her with divination magic.

After the tumult died down I had a chance to speak with Cicada and Yera.  I learned much of the Reaver and the Abandoned.  I saw the parallel between their path and the potential path of myself and my brother.  Some think that Imildrak's incarceration will cause this prophecy, I for one believe this is the act that prevents it from happening. 

I learned that the lizardman I suspected of betraying us to the orcs was not skulk at all.  It's either a doppleganger or I'm just really bad at telling lizards apart.  I'm not sure which.

I grew up in a world of Elven Privilege.  Are we really as great as we tell ourselves?  Imildrak and Soraya are traitors.  A substantial population of elves has fallen in league with the demons.  Haldo and Amastacia are well intentioned enough, but I wouldn't count them as the two strongest members of the order.  At least there is Nocturne, she is legitimately awesome.  And what about me?  Have I been holding myself to the standard that my prejudices demand?  Can I truly say that I am the best of us?

I held myself above humans and yet it was my friend Zanath who was clever enough to spot Soraya's treachery while I was blinded by my bias.  I thought all goblins were beyond redemption but Kwali has proven me wrong.  I thought that all lizardmen were secretly in league with the orcs, but that accusation has turned out to be baseless.  How would I have reacted if I came upon a village of Kenku in the wild?  If I had never met Cicada would I have treated them as people or monsters?  My field study of Tieflings has revealed them to lean much more towards their humanoid tendencies than their fiendish ancestory.  Abaraxia has shown me that a righteous daughter can grow from a wicked mother.  In short, everything I thought I knew about the world was just…wrong.

Praise Rhollor the eternal flame.  Protect Remidon from Imildrak and keep him bound.  Praise Rhollor the eternal flame. Protect Remidon from Ilmildrak and keep him bound.

Blessed be Pelor the light of the sun.  You once offered to bind a great evil of this world and we declined your offer.  Now I come to you beseeching you to bind my brother, the greater of these evils.  Keep the planes safe of his evil machinations.  Blessed be Pelor the light of the sun.  You once offered to bind a great evil of this world and we declined your offer.  Now i come to you beseeching you to bind my brother, the greater of these evils.  Keep the planes safe of his evil machinations.

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