Timespan: 1st Work 26:1209 to 1st Work 27:1209
As the group recovers from a very very long day, Leonus leads his comrades through decadent gardens. He chuckles bitterly as he brushes a blue flower, “These were cultivated in our private garden in Rydelle when I was a boy, but I always preferred them in the wild. I thought of myself as wild as well, forced to live in stale castle walls made by man. Now, I find that I may have been made…manufactured in those walls myself. I watched my mother wilt and die like a cut flower, and my sister likewise stricken by a painful disease, and now I see why I was as immune as the walls themselves.” After long moments staring somberly at the garden, he continues up some stairs to the outer rampart that casts a beautiful view over the sprawling city. Thousands of people thrive and make a living in peaceful commerce, trading the grains of Barfield for the imports from the harbor that licks the city’s edge. “I guess it doesn’t make any difference in the end. I was raised from some form of childhood among these loving people, and I would die to keep them safe. This nation has known little other than forceful occupation throughout its history and, though it has made them a hearty lot, the people of Kinsmet remain hopeful that existence has meaning, and that truth and justice will prevail.” He turns to the group for the first time (his eyes strong behind the pooling tears) and, for the second time in your travels, you are struck by how young he really is. “I have delayed my return to this land as long as I could because I believe in our cause, but it is time I serve that cause from here.”
“Balasar, of all the comrades, I have felt the closest kinship to you. Our hearts are to defend our brothers-in-arms, and both of us have been pursued by our own people unfairly. You bore the weight of trial in a foreign land on my behalf, and it is still my desire if able to be tried with you in your homeland. I have been through the arenas of Midia before, and I have seen my king changed as well. I will seek audience with Eglon to discover the truth behind his union with such an enemy. It seems evil desires to court you on every turn, yet when the moment of decision falls upon you, you have always chosen to stand with your friends. It has been an honor to fight shoulder to shoulder with you, a wall against the darkness. Now that we must part, it falls to you alone to stand between danger and your comrades. Defend them with all the strength of your noble heart.”
“Delad, of all our number, you and I have been at odds the most, yet I regret our parting more than any other. I have wept with you as your heart was torn to pieces and restored by Pelor’s healing light. So young in your walk with him, and your faith in Thorin has been shaken by the taint in his blood. I understand your mistrust and sense of betrayal, but his journey is not yet over. Though his loyalties seem divided, he still longs to protect the innocent and restore order to the world. Help him stay the course as we did for you. You have been marked as the key to this great portal, and I sense a choice will fall to you when this prophecy reaches its climax. I hope to stand with you when the time comes, but if you stand alone remember our time together, and the teachings of your master Ryosuke as well!”
“Jayden, I was just starting to really get to know you, as we traveled the land of your youth, and now we are separated. I have learned of your dark past, and still Stondylus holds that over you, but it is a lie. You have chosen to be a good man, and must be free from the manacles of self-judgment. I too have been forgiven much, for some things even by you, and together we forge new identities. When this is over, I would gladly invite you to uphold your principles as a leading member of the Gatekeepers if you would accept. In the meantime, continue to stand by Thorin and counsel him through the valley he now walks as only you can.”
“Shintaro, ours has been a difficult time together. Both of us parted from our station of birth, having seen our nations fall upon evil times. We spent more time hounded by our enemies or sick on our backs than treated like royalty or (as we would often prefer) left alone. You stood by me, though, when it seemed against your interest (and perhaps your better judgment) and have fought the battles of others. I pledged my aid in helping you find the lost artifacts and in restoring your throne. With the authority placed on me, perhaps I may better aid you from here. We disagree about the intentions of the gods (or at least of one) and their right to participate in our world, but with the power Pelor has given me I will hold back the tide of evil that seeks to overwhelm civilization and even nature itself. In reality, I have valued your perspective in our travels, and have come to see us as brethren. Perhaps our bond will be mirrored in that of Kinsmet and Lau Jahnan.”
“Thorin, you were there for me during the darkest time of my life. You bore with my bitterness toward Pelor with patience and humbly modeled his ways for me. When my father died… and I seemed to betray you all, it was your voice that committed the party to follow me into battle against a seeming ally in Rallis. As we purged the desecrated temple of Pelor in the mountains to the south, I came to see you as a mentor and my barriers against the god of light slowly slipped away. As the choice to become Pelor’s chosen champion lay before me in Rallis’ chamber, it was your encouragement that rang in my ears. Now, it is your turn to travel through the valley of darkness. Like me, you now mourn the death of your father, the oracle. And like me, this loss is aggravated by even more suffering in the loss of your mortality and the confidence of your order. Do not let their judgments pierce your heart, though, my friend. Pelor has not forsaken you or found you unworthy of his blessings. I know you are torn by your feelings for Hulda, and living with your heart is truly important, but don’t let it cloud you from the truth. She admits serving Vecna, the god of undeath and a mortal enemy of Pelor who brought about the death of Alvis. Compromise not with the wicked. Restore Delad’s hope in you by your actions, and choose carefully for the fate of your comrades and of the world.”
Upon the wall that overlooks Anvar, a moment of unity comes across the group as Leo expresses his feelings and farewells. Without Thorin casting the prayer, Malakiy appears before them all, hovering upon the light of the sun. He speaks, “Let it be known that one of the Heroes of Portal now takes his leave from the companions to best serve his country. Let it also be known,” a long pause as he stares at Leo who begins to flash different colors of the prophecy, “that Leonus Anima, Duke of Rydelle, ‘son’ of Braivemore Anima, is not,” all of the colors are quickly extinguished at that point as he continues, “part of the prophecy.” Malakiy continues with a smile on his face as he looks at Leo, “Pelor favors you, Leonus. Your father is truly happy for what you have done. In fact, he could probably tell you best,” he gestures his hand toward Leo’s side as his sword (which he thought was always his father’s blade but in reality was the final product of Braivemore’s inventions just for Leo) begins to float out of it’s sheathe. As it does so, a new light, one of fire and radiance, emits from the now enhanced blade. The blade shows an image of the white knight that has been “teaching” Leo of his new powers, his father, Braivemore stands with his helmet at his side.
He says, “This blade is now fully awakened to it’s true potential as you begin to discover your true self. The warforged were created to not only protect our land, but were created for that which I was unable to create to begin with: Life. You have always been my son, Leo. Numbers, theory, and equations mean nothing to me when I look at you and even though I transmit this letter to you after my death, I am with you, at your side,” as the sword then begins to hover back into the young knight’s sheathe upon his side.
The group is about to say their farewells to Leo but his Gatekeepers tell their Duke that many of their soldiers are fighting in Frosthaven right now. Braivemore, years ago, had made a promise to Frosthaven to help them the next time they were at war. Leo says he will take a small entourage with him and help his friends one last time before leaving for Rydelle City so that he can get his troops back home.
The Heroes realize they must try and find Gbaja and Hannu now. They cast a ritual to teleport to Frosthaven (with Thorin taking extra precaution as to make sure the portal is not changed by the “Mole” again). They then arrive a day later in Frosthaven at Mama Foxx’s School to find that Gbaja has been there for the past few days waiting for them to return. Hannu did not make the trip with Gbaja so, yet again, Hannu is lost in planar travel to the group. Upon their arrival it looks like the Rebel alliance against the dragon siblings have been gearing for war since General Zirithian is now dead. But the group is given a letter from Kyrynn who explains he has bad news for them about Councilman Horatio Pashin and Stondylus.
Timespan: 1st Work 24:1209-1st Work 25:1209
Meanwhile…in the country of Cush we find a new group of adventurers taking on a job as mercenaries in the village of Elderwood. Each of the ahem, “heroes” has taken a code name to protect themselves and their identity: “Fissure”, “Longcoat”, “The Prince”, and “Siv.” The group has been hired by a mysterious gentleman by the name of the He promises them wealth for a dangerous job: In the village, the tyrant Lord Breyart Tanlan plans to claim the village for his own by way of force. This “Lord” has a lot of money and pays his “army” of mercenaries through it. The heroes are told if they are able to steal his wealth his army would up and leave and the village would be indebted to the heroes. Of course, the “heroes” are only interested in the money. In order to gain the heroes trust, the Locksmith presents each of the mercs the real name of one of the other people in the group (including himself) and a secret about themselves that would ruin said person.
The group agrees on the job and begins to look for clues on how to break into Lord Tanlan’s estate. They meet many interesting people in the village: “Siv” meets a priestess, Beles, at the Bough Shrine who says she will help her and her group to stop Tanlan from encroaching Elderwood. Siv is put to a test of faith in order to gain the Beles’ trust and is put into a trance. Siv recollects a pivotal moment in her life to see if she would make the same decision again or change it. She is brought back to her lover’s death and rebirth: Thorin lies dying from a vampire attack and instead of biting him to save him, “Siv” (at this point it is obvious is Hulda) attacks Teman Loot’sko. In this “reality,” Hulda kills Teman but Thorin dies in the process. The trance is over and the Beles is pleased with Hulda’s response (even though she changed her decision, she still made a good decision). Hulda doesn’t seem pleased upon finding out this information so she burns all of the altars to the various gods at the shrine, except for Pelor. Hulda says, “This is a shrine to Pelor now only,” and walks away. Beles begins to cry and says, “Honey, you just don’t understand at all.” Hulda seems bewildered and walks away.
The Locksmith is put to tasks by the rogues guild to find more information and Fissure is accepted by the local Militia for showing his strength by taking down their captain of the guard. That night, the group follows the Locksmith to where the thieves guild is meeting with him and they are attacked in the fishing warehouse by the docks by a halfling rogue (named Olos, one of Tanlan’s higher-ups) and his men. “Red” (the Locksmith’s contact with the thieves guild) runs away during the attack and the heroes kill Olos and are able to get a pendant that will allow the heroes entry into Tanlan’s castle. They rest that night with the pigs in a stable (as most of them were kicked out of the inn) and continue their investigation before the big caper happens on the third night.