Four Fables

Chapter 36: The Shadowfell
6-11-12 session

Timespan: 1st Work 25:1209

The heroes entered the Shadowfell through the portal made by the dragon’s horn while in Frosthaven. They are met by The Keeper of Deadhold, a sentient being who judges those who enter the Shadowfell and decide if they should remain here or not. While trying to impress the Keeper with their knowledge of the planes, the heroes friend from the Underdark, Hannu appears before them all. It turns out a teleportation spell that went awry for him sent the shardmind into the Shadowfell by accident. As he wishes to return to the Material Plane, the Keeper mentions that maybe he was brought by fate once again to be with these mortals to help them in their quest to vanquish Zirithian. He agrees to help the group in order to get back to the Material Plane.

The party realizes that the Keeper doesn’t like his job too much and wishes to end his terms with Orcus (who put him here). He bargains with the group to take the sword, Content Not Found: nightbringer, from Zirithian and “plunge it into the eye of Orcus. You will know when the time is right.” Some agree to this (Thorin, Shintaro, Hannu, and Balasar) while others disagreed and angered the Keeper. He cursed them as he left them to their fate.

The party then trekked across the harsh sandy and gray world of Deadhold. The Keeper’s curses and harsh undead monsters and demons attacked them but they gained access to Deadthrone, Zirithian’s outpost that overlooks the Sea of Rot (a literal river of millions of undead creatures). As they enter the shadowy gate they are put to the test: Body, Mind, and Spirit. They prove themselves (though with many of them sapped of much of their energy) and are confronted by an astral projection of Orcus. He asks them to kill Zirithian and take Nightbringer in order for them to become his new exarchs instead of the drow vampire. The group responds to Orcus on their own telepathically and Orcus shouts with anger (and a bit of fear in his voice) to a majority of the group. They are then given access to the inner sanctum of Zirtihian, The Ziggurat.

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Chapter 35: Blue Hilt
5-14-12 session

Timespan: 1st Work 19:1209 to 1st Work 25:1209

The group continued to search for Mama Foxx’s house of the Gifted while dealing with a group of Frost Giants at one point. Finally, their search is over as they find the abandoned school. As they search separately throughout the abandoned school one group finds a pack of teens, mainly made of half-elves, led by Peren. They are survivors and part of the rebellion against the Dragons that rule the land. The heroes are able to help them by agreeing to take care of the Dragons’ general, Zirithian. He brings many of their troops in via portals to Frosthaven from Deadhold, a section of the Shadowfell, where he resides.

Jayden remembers his past as he searches by himself (of course, Ralph is with him) through the school. He comes across the boy’s barracks that he and his brother resided in their youth and he finds an old Fairytale book called “The Blue Hilt.” He remembers the story well how this vigilante saved Frosthaven from corrupt generals of Lykovia over a hundred years ago.

While remembering the old story he grew fond of in his childhood (as Jayden and his brother would make believe to be Blue Hilt in their youth), Jayden notices the air to grow cold as the window has somehow opened near him. He closes it and turns around to leave the room but is startled to see a figure standing before him. This white cloaked man (whose face is obstructed other than his mouth) with a blue hilt at his side holds his hand up to show that he comes in peace. He says in a guttural, low voice, “This town hasn’t seen colder days in all the winters it’s experienced. The sibling dragons are an icicle that forms on the bowels of this city, and I aim to break it. I am the mouthpiece of Frosthaven, the frozen winds don’t carry the words of the disenfranchised. I aim to fix that. I tell you this because I trust you, Jayden. And I know about you and your friends. What you have done, everything. I know you can do the impossible, kill their general, the one who leads the dragons’ armies. Once he is dead, I can lead the revolution. The rebels will rise and strike their armies. And the two will be nothing but wyrmlings crying for their mother. Will you do this for me? I ask because the stakes will be high but I know you care for Frosthaven, your homeland.”

Jayden agrees with some question as to his past and his brother and Blue Hilt explains that he knew Crynaden, he helped in the revolution but died months ago in the starting rebellion. Now Blue Hilt wants to avenge him and asks Jayden to do this but not speak of Blue Hilt to anyone, even his friends. For he knows of the mole that has been prophesied by Malakiy. The dragons could become aware of the legend of Blue Hilt being true and search for him.

Blue Hilt shows the horn on a decaying dragonborn body that was part of the dragons’ armies. Upon blowing on the horn, the group can open the portal to the Shadowfell. Jayden takes it and rejoins the group, he agrees with the heroes to go into the portal and Peren agrees to help when they get back if they vanquish Zirithian. The group is slightly surprised that Jayden wants to help so quickly without asking questions but assume his love for Frosthaven outweighs his thoughts.

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Chapter 34: Vince's Will
4-23-12 session

Timespan: 3rd Rise 21:1209 to 1st Work 19:1209

The group gathers around the burial plot of Vince. Princess Wei explains to Shintaro that many years ago when she was given the task to contact the other civilizations they were quite hostile and wanted their powers. The primitives cast a ritual given to them by the Formorians on her armor in the midst of a fight. She fell ill from it and passed away. That’s all she is able to remember.

Before the heroes can do anything they are confronted by Gunnarr. He tells the group to come with him immediately for there is a meeting with some of the high priests of Pelor gathering after the funeral of Oracle Alvis to decide who the next Oracle should be. The group heads to the important meeting (without Jayden who wishes to stay by Vince’s burial site) and begins conversations with the people there. These handful of important Pelorians in the world are: Kyrynn, Gunnarr, Cyndree, Keegan Von Richter VIII, Nadalia, and the group’s old friend, Gbaja. It turns out Gbaja has converted many lives in the name of Pelor through evangelism in the country of Cush after he became chief of Ijon, the orc tribe he was left with. He is a firm believer in welcoming all races to the arms of Pelor and so the high priests revere him to be a special priest of Pelor from Cush.

The group tells of their misfortune of Oracle Alvis’ death and how Thorin was given the Oracle’s powers but is now losing them due to the fact that he was turned into a vampire. Most of the group (especially Delad) felt that Thorin, at least at this time, is not ready to be Oracle. They give the ability to Gbaja to test those in this group to see if they are worthy of being the new Oracle. Gunnarr is named interim Oracle until then.

Kyrynn assures the heroes secretly that Stondylus (posing as Horatio) is close to finding the whereabouts of the unknown artifact they are looking for. He also says he will be able to take Thorin’s mom back to Edom tomorrow now that the meeting is adjourned.

The group, with their old friend Gbaja adventuring with them again, heads back to Vince’s shop where Jayden has, for some reason, uncovered Vince’s grave. Thorin begins to remember why as he flashes back in time two years ago.

In the midst of the celebration for Oskoor’s new paladinhood, Hulda is made aware by her secret contacts with Vecna that a power source OF Vecna has recently showed up at the Northeastern beaches of Resen. The contact tells her to get her “friends” to help recover the source and she does so with ease.

They rush to the beaches and fight what seems to be two fighting groups: followers of Zehir and followers of Vecna. They eliminate most of the enemies that surround an unconscious half elf (that Hulda points out as the important source they are after) that Ralph seems to continuously squawk at. Vince almost dies but Oskoor rescues him from the deep sea depths and throws him onto the broken shipyard. Thorin is able to stop the bleeding off the unknown body and then Ralph starts to squawk the name, “Jayden!” The body rises up, and begins to destroy the remaining enemies, including a powerful demon that was summoned. But in the confusion of whether everyone is an enemy or friend, he destroys not only the demon but Vince as well. He then falls unconscious, slowly dying from some sort of magical wounds that the group can’t decipher. The gnome leader gives himself up but forces some kind of poison down his throat and kills himself before the group can interrogate him. Also, amidst the confusion, Hulda goes missing.

Gunnarr realizes that this half-elf was important to those two factions and so they should try and help him. I’dunn, Thorin’s horse, is the only one fast enough to take the half-elf to the Oracle in order to save him so Thorin does so. After hours of galloping through the night and almost there at the Sundial, I’dunn, falls from exhaustion. Thorin, without any kind of healing powers left, decides to put her out of her misery (as she is suffering too much) and carries Jayden to the Oracle just in time to save his life.

The Oracle heals Jayden of some kind of powerful magical poison that was in him and says that Jayden (as that is the only thing Jayden remembers thanks to Ralph saying his name so much) is special and he thinks that Pelor has given Thorin the quest to help Jayden find out more of his past. Delad and Oskoor decide to join the travels as well. Gunnarr, feeling hindered by his handicap (and the fact that he must stay in Resen for his secret group), decides to stay at the temple. Hulda mysteriously vanished that day on the beach and is never seen by anyone until 2 years later (when she converted Thorin into a vampire). With Vince dead, the group administers his funeral and adhere to his will that asked that he be buried in the hide armor he had with him in his possessions (though the group never saw this before). Oskoor receives word that his cousin, Misako, needs his help in Duvik’s Pass so the group begin their quests together from that point on two years ago.

After the flashback, it’s obvious that the hide armor Vince was buried in is the artifact that was stolen from the Scarlet Corsair and the artifact that the group has been looking for. They find it in the coffin and Princess Wei sacrifices herself so that Shintaro doesn’t die from the Formorian curse on it (it seems the curse only affects the lineage of the Quang Dynasty). She apologizes to her father saying that she must do this for his quest. He at first says no, but she goes against his word and vanishes in a bright light. The artifact is theirs and a magic mouth ritual goes off now that it is touched with the familiar voice of Vince saying:

“I, Vince of the wonderful and all powerful Valencia family, hereby claim this to be my real Will and Testament. Sorry, Sis, if you thought otherwise. But don’t worry, the land I bought here with Nord’s money he fronted me is still yours.

If you are hearing this, surely you have exhumed my elegant burial plot in hopes to plunder my vast wizardly treasures. If you are pirates: STOP PIRATING MY BOOTY! My body deserves much more than that. Plus, I will haunt you from the grave and make sure you get cursed and what not!

Hopefully, it’s friends or family that is hearing this. If so, good job! No one claimed my stuff, but then again, maybe that shows that I’m not as powerful and popular as I would hoped to be upon my death. Hmm, oh well. Maybe I’m lucky and you are my worst villain ever. But pirates would be just annoying. Oh no, maybe my worst villain IS a pirate…oh dear." In the background a noise of Ralph squawks, “KIND SIR!”

Vince continues, "What was I saying? Curses Ralph, do I need to feed you another cracker!? My gosh, why did I buy this stupid bird from that traveling merchant. ‘All great mages need an animal familiar at their side,’ he said. But all this stupid bird does is squawk. For some reason familiars never liked me in Arcane school so instead, this dumb animal I figured would do the trick, he only cost a silver piece anyway. Oh well, you win some and lose some, right?

Now where was I? Oh yes, My will! Everything I own is given to my sister, Victoria. Oh wait, I already established that, yes yes. My notes say…here we go, Thorin, Gunnarr, Delad, Oskoor, and Hulda: I’m sorry I lied at the temple. I did steal from that temple. But it wasn’t anything you need to worry about. It was the armor you buried me in. I was hired by Nord to find this armor for whatever reason he had and I wanted to start my collection of wonderful magic items to be buried with me. Isn’t that what great mages do? I mean, you go dungeon crawling in the old necromancer’s tomb, you’re gonna find his handy dandy, uhhh, HAND bone wand, right? That’s what adventurers crave, right? Well, hopefully this is you who found my stuff. If anyone else did, good job! I don’t know what the armor does, but I do know it’s powerful. So congratulations! There’s something you don’t hear after raiding someone’s tomb of their prized possessions: a warm greeting and pat on the back. Usually it’s just silence before the mummy curse overtakes you." An awkward silence lingers, "BOO! Haha, gotcha!

No seriously though, you guys were great helpers to my epic magic item emporium, that’ll show Vaan and Vicious who’s top dog in our family! Just don’t tell them I gave you my armor. Good luck, and if you forget everything else I tell you, remember these very important words: ‘If you wanna feel like a PRINCE, come down and shop at Vince!’"

The message is finished and the armor is retrieved and given to a vapid Shintaro. The group realizes they are one step closer to finding the portal and they are given a feast at Vince’s shop by his sister, Victoria. She prepares the group for their time at Frosthaven as it is their next stop. Yuma is there who gives a wonderful dessert to Thorin for the sake of his 34th birthday, which is today (ironic that he is “born” again today as a vampire, isn’t it?). Yuma claims she will return to Edom and live the rest of her years there with her daughter, Senna.

The group finds that Gunnarr is being helpful to find a cure for Thorin’s vampirism and is also looking for someone to be able to cast the ritual, “Exorcism” to help the group in their ghost problems. Gunnarr says he’ll do his best and shakes hands with Thorin as they teleport to Frosthaven.

Frosthaven is a vast ice tundra that has plunged into an eternal winter due to the two dragons that rule the lands with an iron claw: Exarzellian (a blue dragon) and his older sister who is a white dragon, “Kurikveaeri.” The group, only knowing of the orphan house Jayden grew up in, (“Mama Foxx’s House of the Gifted”) decide to search the winter lands extensively. In their travels they come across many perils and other races who seem to either be a slave to the dragons or follow them as if they were deities themselves. The heroes help where they can and gain some treasures and Jayden is able to come across a few places of interest that help him bring his memory back. Things like:

1. These are the woods where Jayden and his brother, Crynaden, would go with their friends from school and play knights in the woods while growing up as children. Crynaden would always be the knight, he made Jayden play the villain every time.
2. This is the waterfall where Crynaden told Jayden that mom and dad never loved them but that Crynaden would take care of them both.
3. This the old village that the two brother were at before Mama Foxx’s house of the gifted. They were street rats, vagabonds, but Crynaden had higher hopes for them both.

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Chapter 33: Shrooms and Gloom
3-19-12 session

Timespan: 3rd Rise 21:1209

The group rested at Keegan’s place. Shintaro tells of his meeting with some of the elder water elementals of Resen. They agreed to help their fight against the Queen if they close a new portal that was mysteriously opened to the Underdark recently. They are also told from Delad that his daughter might be in trouble as a dream told him so and Gunnarr mentioned something wrong at the orphanage at the Sundial Temple. Leo goes to check on the orphanage and the whole group goes to caves where the portal has opened. Shintaro begins to close it while the rest of the party goes inside to investigate.

The smell of mushrooms and gloom permeate the air. A familiar voice comes into Delad’s head, “Oh my beloved, you have returned. You know it’s been 100 days today that your next mission would begin? Don’t worry, Irrbryn is safe…with me." In the darkness, multiple figures emerge. One being the evil Talebrina who seems to smirk at the heroes’ presence. Two other drow appear to be holding scourges, ready for a fight. Among the other drow, a fourth is shrouded in some sort of magical darkness. Talebrina continues, “Now that you are here, this makes my life so much easier. “ She turns to the shadowy figure and says, “You can kill the Montebank now, my love. This is the one I told you about, he has disgraced your name my love!” The shadowy figure’s cloak is cast aside and before the group can react he attacks Delad with a clashing of a staff in his hand. Delad can barely grab hold of the staff in time before the deadly force hits him. He recognizes the staff to be the old one he casted aside last time he was in the Underdark only a few days ago. Delad looks up in horror as the face stares back at him. A mirror image of Delad appears to attack him. Delad searches it’s thoughts psionically to determine if it’s some kind of ruse, a doppelganger maybe. But it’s not. Before the party, from head to toe, is a spitting perfect replica of Delad. Delad holds the staff in disbelief, as even the voice sounds the same as his. The rest of the party stumbles backwards as they hear the same voice of Delad, coming from the attacker, as it says (thanks to Bob Grant as a surprise guest star for the day playing Clone Delad), "Friends! At long last, I’ve found you! I’ve been searching far and wide, following your trail, trying to catch up with you before this imposter led you all to destruction! How could you be fooled by this…this Montebank? After he walked away from everything I fought for? After he discarded the shadows I took up in defense of our world? After he laid down my DAUGHTER and abandoned her to strangers? He even showed you his true self – showed you how he came to be – laughed behind your backs as you studied exactly how Zirithian perfected the process by which he was cloned! Did he make you forget all the confusion and amnesia I suffered? Did he satisfy your doubts by making up some cheap, polished story where that snake, Ryosuke, DIDN’T abuse me and a thousand other students?

Did you really think it could be that easy to make the past disappear, Montebank? Did you convince them not to find and ask any other student what had happened, so your lies would never come to light? Well they come to light now. And you will find your reckoning, you liar, you thief! Did you really believe he was ME, friends? After all we’ve been through – does he act like me? Talk like me? Think back, think hard – did he ever once watch the horses? My lover and I have rescued our daughter from the temple you abandoned her to, and we let nothing stand in our way – because that is a parent’s job, Montebank. There is no blood too sacred to be shed in pursuit of that duty, a duty you so callously cast off – and, my friends, you believed I could be so heartless? You believed I’d really leave my poor precious Irrbryn to strangers? In a cold temple surrounded by pirates and thugs on all sides? No. But Thorin, Leo, don’t worry! Talebrina and I will make the Sundial secure! We’ve concocted a plan, a perfect plan – to show the world that Drow are not evil by nature, but innocent victims of circumstance! Our people need a new home, since this Montebank’s cowardice allowed Zirithian to destroy the last one… And our new home shall be Resen! We’ve opened the way already, and soon our brothers and sisters will roll in like smoke and cleanse like fire, wiping away the brigands and building a new drow home in their wake. Our city of drow will rise up around the Sundial like a hedge, and our blades will keep the temple of Pelor safe! And then the world will see us for who we really are.

But as for now- for now, this Montebank must die. For everything he has done, for laughing off the agony I endured as a child as if it never happened, for lying to my friends, for taking my name, and for LAYING A HAND ON MY DAUGHTER. Until he is dead, she won’t be safe! And I WILL see her safe!" He immediately attacks and backs off into the dark magical shadows. The rest of the drow attack the heroes as the small portals in front of them are used by Dark Delad jumping in and out of combat. Every time they saw him though, he seemed unscathed from their attacks. They eventually see that there are more than just one Dark Delad, 4 clones in total. Though they are damaged, the heroes take down Talebrina and her drow once and for all, including the 4 Delad clones. The last one grabs Delad and says, “Take care of Irrbryn,” as he dies. Delad is silent throughout the fight and doesn’t know what to say.

The group gets Irrbryn back as she is safe and Delad takes her to Nephelim to take care of her from now on. Nephelim promises to do so and says, “Sometimes change is for the better!” and flicks a double headed coin to Delad as he is teleported out of the door. While Delad is gone, the rest of the group talks to each other saying, “How do we know if this is the real Delad that we have now?”

Thorin remembers how not long ago when love for one’s own family can make you do the strangest things. (Flashback) He remembers when Oskoor was taking his final rites into paladinhood at the Sundial Temple (only a day after their fight in the Temple of Erathis), that Oskoor was a bit nervous. Though he didn’t say much, Thorin was able to give him a peptalk. The service started and in the midst of it, Delad (played by Bob) was confronted by an old Bullywug rival of his from his temple named Michigan. Michigan challenged Delad to a proper challenge since he ran away from the temple without taking his final test. He accepts and chases after Michigan up the temple. The monk representatives with Michigan follow the two monks as observers only. The group is also surprised as a half-orc and his band raid the temple in hopes to kill Oskoor. The half-orc, Grudge, is the same one from the time the group was attacked during the joust. Grudge claims that his wife, Lug-Lug was killed by Oskoor along with his unborn daughter. They wrestle towards the edge of the high platform stairs and Oskoor is hanging on to a dying Grudge. Grudge tells him to let him go and Hulda comes up (without the others watching) and proceeds to kill Grudge even more so casting a spell on him. Oskoor, looking for Morodin’s guidance, pulls Grudge up and revives him with Morodin’s blessing. They get up and the fight seems to be over, yet Hulda screams out a lie, “He’s gonna kill him!” and tries to push Grudge off the platform, but Oskoor interrupts her action. She claims that an orc shouldn’t be in Pelor’s temple and begins to leave while Thorin sits there, confused by her actions. The orcs either retreat or give up. Grudge finds forgiveness in Oskoor and vice versa. He makes a promise to never harm again along with which ever orcs and half-orcs want to follow him. They are invited by Oskoor to be a part of the service and Grudge gives the dwarf his sword (which was taken from dwarven enemies of his family). They serve their community service and some stay in Resen after that. (flashback over)

The portal is destroyed thanks to the group and by late morning they arrive at the ship the late Oracle promised them. Thorin finds that the Navy of Cush is in port today for their routine checks around Resen in search of pirates and unloading/loading supplies. Thorin tries to gain audience with the commander, who it turns out to be his old friend Nord. Though they had a falling out and now Nord doesn’t want anything to do with Thorin. He won’t listen and doesn’t believe that he is the Oracle now. Thorin leaves in a huff hoping he might hear him but to no avail.

In the mean time, Delad finds that someone has planted a arcane charge in the hull of the ship and with Balasar’s help, they get rid of it before it damages the ship. They set out in hopes to find the Queen’s secret base. Farnquaa leads them there and there is much resistance. Though, with the help of the water spirits and Jayden’s rituals on the ship, they are able to fight well against the Queen and her armada of ships. They reach the Queen and she agrees to talk to the party since they made it in with such finesse into her base (though battle could happen at any moment again).

Shintaro and Jayden calm the Queen down while Balasar gains favor from the enemy pirates. They realize that the Queen is bothered by something above her and with the proper arcana checks, they notice that the hat on her head is cursed. Jayden tells Delad to throw a dagger at the hat to knock it off, he does so and they find that the spirit of Princess Wei was inside her this whole time. Princess Wei could only speak of what she knew hundreds of years ago before she passed away.

The Queen knew her jig was up and would be going to jail (she didn’t seem to mind actually). The party asked about the artifact and she couldn’t remember anything like it except for one person who stole from her without her realizing it. She recieved a letter a from a man who claimed to have stolen from her two years ago and she knew it was real because the armor she had found was gone (this was the artifact) and her calling card was given back to her (a red feather). Thorin recongized this to be the mysterious doing of Vince two years ago.

After finding some awesome pirate treasure, the group heads back to port. They see that Nord’s ships are passing by and take care of rounding up the remaining pirate prisoners (though Nord is no where to be seen). Thorin brings the group to a large shop on a hill called, “Vince’s Magic Item Emporium.” A woman by the name of Victoria Valencia recognizes Thorin and asks if he’s here to see Vince. Thorin says yes and they proceed to the back fields where they see a headstone labeled, “Vince Valencia 1149-1207.”

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Chapter 32: The Rise and Fall of the New Oracle
2-20-12 session

Timespan: 3rd Rise 21:1209

The fight continues in Keegan’s estate. Leo and Delad knock Keegan out and realize that he has sharpened his own teeth and has been eating raw meat of a deer, putting to rest the fact that Keegan was not a real vampire, just keeping an old Richter family trait alive (eating raw meat is an old custom for his family from long ago). They begin to search for their party realizing they might be in trouble. But now the castle has turned against them: vampires (who are the remains of Keegan’s staff) attack, ghosts spooking them, bushes giving off strange poison vapors, and spectral hands attacking them from the Richter family portraits on the walls. This haunted castle attacks them but they are successful in getting to the party in time.

Meanwhile the attack continues with Teman hurting the party and Yuma as well. Thorin bursts through the window with Yuma and things seem well until Teman is not happy and chases after them. To make matters worst, more vampire spawns come to Teman’s aid from the woods who attack Thorin.

The battle continues on the ground as Balasar continues to get mind controlled by Teman and levels Delad in the fight. Thorin continues to try his best to heal Yuma and the party and all seems lost until an older looking Shintaro shows up in the battle (about 50 years old). He summons a tiger from the Feywild and the two help tremendously in the fight, eventually bloodying Teman.

At that point, Teman uses a magical item to push and paralyze the group and gives Thorin the choice: Either Yuma will be feast upon, or him. Thorin is hesitant at first, but eventually gives his body to be devoured. Vampire spawns begin to poor out of the woods and rip Thorin’s armor and weapon apart, and in the process, his body is devoured. Teman spits upon him and all seems lost until Gunnarr rushes from the woods with the local militia, giving chase to the vampires. The party comes out of their paralysis and, in anger, destroy Teman with Leo chopping the vampire’s head off.

Jayden, desperate to heal his best friend, begins to drag Thorin’s body to the tree where Nephelim’s door has been drawn, while Shintaro says, “It’s too late.” The party, broken, stare at his lifeless body in the quiet rain. Until suddenly a familiar female figure comes out of the woods. Delad recognizes it to be Hulda who stoops down and says, “I hope I’m not too late.” She whispers, “Awaken, Thorin my love…” as she plunges her teeth into his neck. At first all is quiet as the group stares in disbelief and confusion and the silence shatters as Thorin begins to cough. Thorin feels fine, even stronger than before and sees the love of his life, Hulda caressing his face. He smiles and is overjoyed to see that she has saved him. But then she reveals that she has changed him entirely saying, “I’ve waited for this moment and now I don’t have to hide it from you anymore. We are one in the same now, Dhampyrs (half vampire/half human), Vrylokan heritage is what makes us live forever! We can be together now!”

Thorin is confused and checks on his mother as Hulda holds his hand. Yuma’s sight has returned and for some reason the traumatic experience that has happened to her (Teman and her’s pilgrimage to the Sun Dial, etc.) has been forgotten. All she remembers is that she decided to take a pilgrimage (she thinks she went by herself) to the Sundial, stayed at Keegan’s estate out of the kindness of his heart for her late husband’s (Teman) friendship with him, and that Teman never survived the “Brother-Sister War” of Lykovia recently. She is glad to finally meet Thorin but claims he is cold to the touch.

Thorin does look the same, but he seems a bit paler, his eyes are glossed over with death, and his canines are much more enhanced than they were before. Even worst, he feels the Oracle power of “Channeling” slowly weakening in his mind. But that doesn’t matter to Yuma, she claims the trip was good and is glad that she is reunited with her son. She sees Jayden and doesn’t recognize him.

Hulda, who is being eyed up by the group is quite honest with them: she works for Vecna and is glad that Teman is now dead (along with the curse on Keegan’s estate). She is only here to save Thorin and let him know that she loves him. Thorin is upset to hear that he is now part undead as he has sworn his life to kill all undead and is even contemplating his own suicide because of this. Jayden and Shintaro view this is as a win for them while Delad is not happy and takes a few bashes with his staff against Hulda’s face and she just takes the hits. He yells that this is not right to Pelor, “How can you be the Oracle if you are undead!?” In a huff, he enters Nephelim’s door and closes it behind himself. Leo seems hesitant as well and even tries to attack Hulda as she leaves. Her presence does not seem welcome and she disappears with a cast of a spell. Thorin, still questioning everything, does not seem happy that Leo just attacked the love of his life.

As Hulda disappears she takes Thorin’s holy symbol as a memento for herself and leaves her necklace behind in his hand (his new ki focus magic item). Thorin takes Yuma inside and finds that the Oracle armor to be a good fit for him (as the armor is much heavier than he used to be able to use, but with his new racial powers and relying more on being a battle cleric he can use scale armor now) as his last bit of armor was destroyed. Yuma also begins to pack her things as she prepares to go home (hopefully with Thorin she thinks) and notices the morningstar she brought. She was going to donate it to the Sundial temple but thinks that Thorin should have it. After all, it was his father’s weapon before his death.

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Chapter 31: The New Oracle
1-30-12 session

Timespan: 3rd Rise 21:1209

The group follows Gunnarr to the last known whereabouts of Oracle Alvis in the midst of the rainy midnight. They find a small shrine to Pelor that was recently made. A ghost of a small girl, named Sara, is haunting the shrine and the Oracle was trying to solve why she was there but went missing while in the midst of the investigation. The party investigates but Shintaro receives word from a wind spirit that is whispered into his ear that he must go and seek council with the primal spirits of Resen. He explains he will see them soon, if not in the morning at the main port. The party finds that Sara was killed there by one of the people who made the small shrine recently. Her bones are found and the culprit is taken away. Sara rejoices and leaves for her rightful resting place. Her bones are burned (as per Pelorian custom) and the ashes leave a simple message as to where the Oracle is: “East Bittercliffs.”

The party hurries to the Oracle who appears to be possessed with madness at the East Bittercliffs. He immediately attacks the party giving a formidable fight for them. In the midst of the battle, Leo notices that there are ethereal chains locked onto the Oracle. They knock him out but notice that the chains are slowly ripping his soul out of his body.

Oracle Alvis comes out of his madness and recognizes Thorin. He explains that a group of demons have entrapped his soul and are now ripping it into the Abyss. He tells Thorin that a new Oracle must emerge and protect Resen and the citizens here and, though Thorin denies it, the Oracle has seen that he is the best candidate in front of him before he passes. Speechless, Thorin receives the sacred armor of the Oracle and is given the ancient power handed down to each Oracle throughout the ages: “Channeling.” With this power the Oracle is able to hear the millions of prayers from believers of Pelor. With the proper ritual, the Oracle can hear certain, important (to Pelor) prayers. Alvis’ soul begins to be drawn upwards by the chains and his final words are, “Don’t worry about me, I’ve failed Resen and Vecna’s power is growing stronger according to the demons, that is why they have defeated me. I will always love you Thorin, use the ‘Channeling’ to help Pelor’s cause.” His soul is then ripped away. Thorin begins contemplating how he can get Alvis back but is interrupted by the flood of prayers that enter his mind. Through the pain, he is able to focus on his mother’s prayer that becomes quite clear stating, “Lord of the Sun, bestow my husband Teman the power to protect us in this evil place. Protect Thorin and guide him back to me.” Thorin and the group take Alvis’ body and send a message to Gunnarr what has happened while they rush to Keegan Von Richter’s castle.

The group goes to Richter’s estate and, with Thorin’s new Oracle powers, the evil divine ritual that was protecting the castle breaks at the mere glance of Oracle Thorin’s eyes. They investigate the large mansion and proceed through the empty first floor. They enter the 2nd and find a scared Teman who is searching the castle for Keegan. He says Yuma is fine in the tower library to the east and asks for Thorin to help him protect her. “Keegan has gone mad and claims he hungers for blood. After you left he began ranting how bad the food was. He left for his private studies in the west end of the castle. Strange things started happening, the walls moved, the furniture attacked us and a strange humanoid creature with fangs and red eyes attacked us!” Teman says that Keegan and his lackey, Lem, went to the west. Delad and Leo rush to find Keegan while the rest follow Teman. Leo finds Keegan first. He’s in his armor along with Lem, both ready for a fight. A bloody carcass lays on his table as his own face seems to be covered in blood. “At last, my guests have returned! Have at thee!” Keegan immediately attacks saying, “Get them, Lem!” They begin to fight but before Delad can enter the private studies the door mysteriously closes on him with Leo fighting Keegan and Lem alone. Delad finds he is not alone as two red-eyed humans come lunging at him from the rafters of the castle.

Thorin and the rest rush to the tower and Jayden gets there first (though he had to break through a magical barrier in order to get to the room she was in). “Are you ok, Yuma?” Jayden asks. Yuma rises to her feet, grabs her walking stick and pulls a sword from it, “I recognize the voice of my dead husband’s killer, AH!” and she attacks Jayden. Jayden tries to calm her crying how sorry he is for his mistake. Thorin and the rest get upstairs to where she is and begin to calm her down. Seeing that they are safe, the group takes the chance to talk and find that Teman is not looking like his usual self. Yuma cries in Teman’s arms saying how she misses Thorin (her late husband). Teman says, “I love you Yuma. You are my everything, I would do anything for you! After the war in Lykovia, I didn’t know what to do. Something had changed in me while on the battlefield, so I returned to you and was able to convince you to come on this pilgrimage with me hoping to find answers. I’m sorry you couldn’t actually see the Sundial with your own eyes, it’s my own fault…” He begins to sob, “If I could have saved her from the sickness, her eyes would have been fine. Instead, my own addiction is the cause of this! It’s my own fault she can’t see!” He cries some more as his rapier drops to the ground. “I can’t deal with it anymore! She needs to see me again, there’s only one way. I must finish what I started.” He takes Yuma in his arms and pulls her dark gray hair away from her neck. Teman begins to caress her and kiss her and the group notices a gleam of white sharp teeth from Teman’s mouth." Thorin pushes him away and Teman yells, “Don’t get in my Thorin!” and attacks the group.

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Chapter 30: Gunnarr's Arm
12-19-11 session

Timespan: 3rd Rise 21:1209

The group tries to enter Keegan’s castle but find that it is protected by some divine ritual where the whole group will need to focus their energy on. But Thorin is busy making a linked portal ritual in order to get back to his home and find out what is happening with the Oracle. The reason being is that after the group had their battle with the 6 sisters, they heard a loud, sonic scream from miles away and recognized the energy make to be from the Oracle himself, in battle.

They decide to give up on Yuma and find out what’s going on back at the Temple. They reach Thorin’s home and are greeted by Gunnarr. He tells them that he has grave news for them, and Thorin sees Gunnarr’s missing arm and is rocked back to the past as he remembers what happened to his best friend.

2 years ago, (on 1/3/1207) the group was getting ready for Oskoor’s big ceremony. They have a day to rest and make Delad work off his debt as being a stowaway. Vince is contacted by his business associate, Nord that he must find an item from the ancient shifter civilization in a temple located in a secluded woods.

Vince convinces the party to go there that day and they explore the temple once dedicated to Erathis. They find it was desecrated by cultists of Orcus and while looking, a wight gets up who holds a strangle purple gem around it’s throat. The heroes spooked at their first sight of an undead destroy it quickly. But the gem grows in power as night falls and the heroes realize the temple is now being surrounded by thousands of undead creatures who are coming from the woods and the ground. The party spends the whole night fighting off and fending the temple from undead getting in. At the end of the night the party decides they must try and destroy the gem thinking it will stop these undead from coming again but Hulda claims it’s missing. Everyone begins to look and in the process a secret compartment is found in the temple that once had the artifact that Vince was looking for. They know this because the Scarlet Corsair’s calling card (a red feather) was left their and with closer investigation, the group realizes that this happened earlier today.

Accusations are sent flying and the party is able to find that Hulda had been lying, trying to hold onto the gem herself for some reason. Thorin, not wanting to deal with the truth, decides it’s time to break the gem with Gunnarr’s and Hulda’s help. By praying to Erathis and other gods, the group is able to reconsecrate the temple and shatter the gem, but at a price. For some reason, Gunnarr’s damaged arm (as some necrotic energy had withered his arm in the fight from one of the purple glowing zombies) was infected even more so by the power of the shattered gem. Thorin realizes he must cut off Gunnarr’s arm in order to save his life before the gem’s energy can turn his best friend into a the walking dead. He does so with hesitation but he is able to get the whole party and the severely hurt goliath back to the Temple of the Sundial so that Gunnarr’s wounds can be treated.

Present day: Gunnarr explains to Thorin that hordes of devils have tried to take down the Oracle and the Sundial covertly. “They succeeded and before I could do anything, he was gone. We don’t know where he is and we need your help. It’s imperative for you to find them for the Keepers of Ancient Ones have tasked me to protect him.” Confused, Thorin and company eventually put two and two together: Gunnarr is “Agent Rose,” their contact in Resen for the Keepers.

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Chapter 29: The Dinner Party
11-28-11 session

Timespan: 3rd Rise 20:1209 to 3rd Rise 21:1209

After meeting with the Oracle, the group splits up once again. Shintaro needed to commune with the primal spirits of Resen for their help. Those spirits agree to help him for the fact that he is now one with the ancient king Quang Ziu. He sacrifices his knowledge of rituals in order to be able to summon the primal spirits to his aid. The specific primal spirits were trusted “soldiers” of Princess Wei, Quang Ziu’s daughter from long ago.

The rest of the group is able to attain (through the bumbling idiots at the local militia’s prison) the prisoner and ex-lover of the Queen of Corsairs, Farnqua. He agrees to Delad’s proposition of leading them to the Queen of Corsair’s base in exchange for freedom.

The whole group eventually meets at the Richter Estate. They enter the gates and travel up to Keegan’s castle. They are greeted by Lem, a quiet and easily scared servant of Keegan’s. After traversing the maze-like castle, they stumble onto Keegan who has been preparing their meal (his staff is away). They are greeted in the banquet hall by Thorin’s long lost mother, Yuma Lotus and her 2nd husband, Teman Loot’sko. They have been living with Keegan since Teman was under Keegan’s rule in the Lykovian army. Jayden is hesitant to meet her for fear she might recognize him but that doesn’t matter for the fact that she is blind herself from a fever a few years ago, Teman claims.

After a good dinner Thorin and Yuma take to the balcony outside to discuss his adventures thus far. He is happy to see her but knows he must break the news of the fact that her husband’s killer is now friends with her son. She seems bitter about this and distant and before more is said, they are interrupted by Teman who takes her to bed.

Keegan offers the group the 6 sisters, the greatest masseuses in all the land. They visit his hot spring outside for a warm bath and massage. But in the midst of their “pleasant” massage, Delad and Jayden (who are not getting the massage) notice these sisters are in actuality hags who are slowly killing the party. Battle erupts and the group is victorious. Shintaro finds a fire elemental who has been trapped in the springs and lets it go free back to the Feywild. The “sisters” almost killed Farnqua as well but he was saved in time. The group finds notes to their “master” that it is important for them to kill the heroes that night but no name is given.

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Chapter 28: The Joust
10-24-11 session

Timespan: 3rd Rise 20:1209

The group rests for the night but is unable to get a full night’s sleep for some reason. They continue their business as they visit the Temple once again as a full group. Delad is able to take his daughter and convince the Temple orphanage to take her in (it was a bit hard since she is part drow). They part ways and Delad does not seem to be challenged for the fact that he was giving up his daughter.

They go to see the Oracle and are met by one of his pages, Cyndree, who they also met the other day when they first saw the Oracle in the temple during the funeral. He tells them that the Oracle is having breakfast with General Keegan Von Richter VIII, an old ally of his. Cyndree leads the party to the Oracle and they all sit and Thorin has another flashback of the last time he sat across from Keegan. It was right after the pirate attack 2 years ago, the Oracle planned a festivity for their dwarven friends and had a joust tournament. Thorin entered the games himself giving his famous horse, Idunn, as his wage and, after hearing that Sir Keegan wished for the kiss of Hulda as his prize, the cleric asked for the same. Thorin did seem a bit jealous to Hulda’s date that she brought along to accompany her as well, a disguised Delad (dressed as a noble merchant) who was just looking for a way off the island as Hulda was able to help him with funding for his trip off of Resen in exchange for accompanying her at the festival.

The joust went well with Thorin barely making it to the finals. He battles Sir Keegan and, though he shows first blood, he is able to cut down Keegan in the match. As Keegan yields to Thorin, the whole festival is attacked by half-orcs. One calls out to Oskoor claiming the dwarf killed his wife and child. Oskoor, looking worried, tries to escape, but realizing the fact they are all surrounded the group and the dwarf counterattack. In the midst of the fight, the group is able to recognize Delad for who he really is. They stop the half-orcs (while some get away, including the one that called out to Oskoor) and with some hurt the Oracle is able to heal most of the half-orc prisoners and villagers and urges the festivities to continue as the local militia is able to calm things down. Thorin is declared the winner and receives his kiss from Hulda. Thorin remembers this situation for some reason as he continues his meal with the Oracle and Keegan in the present.

Thorin and Delad reminisce with Keegan and actually find out that Thorin’s mother and husband (Yuma Lotus and Teman Loot’sko) are living with Keegan in his estate. He arranges a dinner that night for them to meet up.

The Oracle is able to help Thorin and the party out as much as he can with advice on what to do next in their mission (as they explain their story to him). He explains of a very powerful ritual called “Exorcism” that might give them the ability to stop Stondylus, but with that ritual it requires them a focus item and for them to create this ritual with the undead being in the plane of the Shadowfell.

They continue their conversation now switched over to Balasar as Alvis outright attacks him. He realizes that something evil is in him and challenges the dragonborn. The group is confused but has noticed that Balasar has been acting strange. Balasar tells the group they have nothing to worry about. However, Zehir begins to tell Balasar that he must choose between him or his friends and Balasar, with much dismay, chooses his party.

Zehir curses Balasar, bringing him to an inch of his life as necrotic energy surrounds him and exits his body. His wings rot off and his arms and legs atrophy, he is weakened beyond belief. But with the help of the Oracle, realizing an evil presence had left, his warm smile came back again to the dragonborn. Balasar is quite weakened but is able to see the eyes of Malakiy. The group sees the angel (all but the Oracle as he claims he has been unable to communicate with Malakiy as of late in his prayers) and he says to Balasar that Pelor is here for him, he will never let him down. He says, “When you are ready, if you so wish, you can be a scion again, a scion of Pelor.” Balasar, unable to speak, acknowledges the angel. Before he leaves, Delad is very forward with the angel and asks what they must do with the portal, should it be closed or not? The angel explains that Pelor has entrusted these heroes with their decision on what to do with the portal if and when they find it. Delad begins to glow red, and another prophecy has been given: “Let it be known, the elf has always been concerned of the portal. It is because he is the gatekeeper to the portal that his concerns are genuine.”

With that, the group is left with them talking about their decisions on who is part of the prophecies and what to do with the portal. With that, Jayden gets fed up with their bickering and leaves the room. Shintaro begins to talk to the Oracle and their attempts to contact the Queen of Corsairs. The Oracle wants their help because of her stranglehold on the black market of Resen and so he decides to help out the group with forces and ships to aid them in exchange for names of who is part of the Keepers of the Ancient Ones. Thorin gives the name of some (Kyrynn and his goons, etc.) but not his mother or sister. The Oracle is upset, knowing he withheld some names and the group leaves as Thorin is quite upset that his father-figure is disappointed in him.

Balasar, with some strength, as they travel through the markets near the temple, comes across two shifters, Hazel and Ashbrook, trying to sell goods for their temple. These same two were the ones that Balasar was about to kill for Zehir as he was commissioned to do so. Instead, he is able to donate to their cause and lift some of his guilt from his shoulders.

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Chapter 27: How They Met
9-17-11 session

Timespan: 3rd Rise 19:1209

The group settled into Resen, in Thorin’s old house. As Thorin reminisced and was able to help the group remember what they already do know of Resen, Leo and Balasar had a small talk in the common room.

When the group was ready, they split into two groups. One headed to the southern ports of Resen consisting of Balasar and Shintaro while the rest went to the Sun Dial of Pelor. Delad would have gone if had it not been for his child keeping him up throughout the night while they traveled through the portal. Delad and her were fast asleep in Thorin’s bed.

Shintaro and Balasar leave for the ports and after much prodding with the locals they find that The Queen of Corsairs is the one who has destroyed much of the history of shifters here on Resen. She’s known to “find you when she needs you, not the other way around.” Balasar is also able to get in contact with a half-orc by the name of Ollorry but doesn’t find any info. to help Shintaro out. However, Balasar is lying as this is his Zehir follower contact. Ollory tells Balasar that he must prove his worth to Zehir and kill two shifters who have converted to Pelor and Melora as they used to be followers of Zehir. Their names are Ashbrook and Hazel and they work at the small temple to Melora and Pelor in the harbor.

They then visit a shifter temple to Melora and Pelor and begin to talk of Shintaro’s beliefs and wishes for the past to be rediscovered for the Shifters. Sister Lillie (and old shifter with an irish accent and always offering fruits and vegetables to visitors) speaks to them about this and how the Queen of the Corsairs has destroyed many of the old books that had their history believing that “the history means nothing to them, only the future is what’s important.”

With not much luck the group leaves and they realize they are being followed. Thinking they have the upper hand, the ambush goes off still and Balasar and Shintaro are surprised. These cloaked shifters deal a lethal blow to them and say, “The Queen will find you when she needs you. This is your only warning, stay away from her.” Bitter, the group goes back to Thorin’s house.

The second group traveled many hours by carriage (a common way of traveling through the hilly roads of the island) to the temple. There they found many people gathering for what was a long awaited funeral of Aleska Anima. They found interesting news of how she was an orphan here just like Thorin and was adopted by Leo’s father. Some called her a war criminal while others thought she was a saint, so it was a long time coming for her funeral to be honored in the great temple of the Sundial of Pelor. The group tried to enter the service but could not due to the masses. Eventually after the service was over (Ralph was able to catch part of it by sneaking inside), the group goes in to inspect the body under the cover (no casket as this is common for a Pelorian funeral). Though, under heavy guard and Leo’s anger the group was identified as the ones who “killed” Emperor Rallis.

They were about to be put under arrest when Thorin stepped in to ask for a meeting with the high priest, Oracle Alvis. The guards argued and eventually heard an old and small voice coming through the back rooms of the temple. A door burst open as the Oracle came through. He embraced Thorin and recognizes the Heroes of the Portal and asks the guards to stand down. “While here this group is welcome and safe!” the Oracle proclaims.

The group finds out that this is Aleska’s body as it was delivered by General Abana from Kinsmet. He wishes not to see the heroes for fear that he let them down since he could not clear their name in Kinsmet. Also, he technically must arrest them if he sees them so, with the help of a loophole, he sends his best wishes to the group and says he will not be able to see them while they are here in Resen. The oracle is glad to see Thorin and Jayden (after all, this is where they met) and, after hearing their problems, says he will help in anyway he can. But he has previous engagements and must leave, but that Thorin and him will reconvene tomorrow at the temple.

While with the body of Aleska the party is able to contact her through a ritual using her old body. They ask what they should do with Stondylus and she is not much help. But she asks a question (which is uncommon with this ritual) herself, she asks Leo why is he still alive? He tells her of how they were able to escape Rydelle City and fleed the country. This answer seemed pretty obvious so it was strange why Aleska would ask that specific question to Leo.

Before the group leaves for Thorin’s home, the cleric shows the group the actual Sundial. He describes that many people pilgrimage here in hopes to come in contact with Pelor and relive past memories that they may have forgotten in their own lives. As soon as Jayden and Thorin touch the actual monument, they have a recollection of what happened 2 years ago.

On 1st Rise 2:1207 we experience how Delad, Thorin, Ralph, and Oskoor first met. The seas are quite rough on the Island of Resen as their recent bout with the month of Entropy created many horrible storms. Thorin and Gunnarr, best friends, have been charged by the Oracle to welcome/escort their dwarven brothers of Moradin (Strahm and Oskoor) from the port of Resen to the Oracle’s manor home. They meet at the docks along with a half elf merchant by the name of Vince and a stowaway elf (they later find out this is Delad). They try to capture the elf but they are confronted by the shifter pirates of the Scarlet Corsair who wish to kill the group and mug them. The group handles the pirates and goblins and Delad even helps them, but once the local militia come to make arrests, Delad makes a getaway.

The present day Thorin looks back on that event as being the first time they all met. He also recollects the fact that those pirates were apart of the Scarlet Corsair’s crew. One of the pirates who has been imprisoned from that event for the past 2 years was the lover of the Scarlet Corsair, his name was Farnquaa.

The group talks about their findings for the day and realize that the Scarlet Corsair and the Queen of Corsairs might somehow be related; the lover who is imprisoned might be a vital person for the group to use.

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