Time to Dice

39: Research And Family
  • Before leaving to conduct some research, Rana asks an exhausted, frazzled looking Tempest what is going on with him. While not being willing to go into greater detail, Tempest answers that he discovered recently that he has very little self-control in regards to many different things, but that it wasn’t all that important. Afterwards, Rana talks to Kathra, Tempest’s half-elven companion, about this. She, too, noticed the change in Tempest and promises to keep an eye on him.
  • Together, the party members visit the library at the Diamond Arcanium to gather what little information they can find about The Frozen One. Elders, or those of elder blood, are persons or beings of power who share their bloodline with either a dragon or a magic user alive during the first convergence. These convergence occurs every few thousand years, and causes fluctuations. Not only are the barriers between the material planes, the elemental planes, Shadowfell, and the Feywild less stable during this event. A convergence also causes a spike in arcane energy and is said to fundamentally change all magic in the world.
  • The party runs into Gaetan, the rogue who led them through the sewers of Easthallow and fought side by side with them to retake the city from the orcs. It turns out that he is about to return to Dendros, as he is supposed to receive new orders. Apparently, Gaetan holds a rank within the military that comes with enough influence so that he is able to take along Rana via teleportation circle, who thus can avoid both paying a high fee for the magical transportation and traveling to Dendros by horse. Talareg and Lilli on the other hand accompany Keena to her cottage, while Colwyn decides to stay at the Guild Hall and work on his tinkering projects.
  • At Dendros, Rana conducts some more research at the temple library where she spent many hours of her childhood and teenager time. Unfortunately, she doesn’t learn anything new, but notices that a book on the flora and fauna of the Northern Wastelands – the area from where those orcs attacked that are controlled by The Frozen One – is missing and, indeed, lost. She also gathers some information about drakes to pass on to Talareg.
  • At Keena’s cottage, Lilli is intent on finding proof that Keena’s mother was a cleric. All she discovers, however, is a piece of cloth which was carelessly stuffed into a drawer. In the end, however, it is just the fabric that had been wrapped around the mother’s amulet which Keena found during her previous visit.
  • Later on, Keena leads the other two to see her friend, the dire wolf. On the way there, Lilli asks Keena why she left the cottage in the first place, and the druid explains that she wants to find out more about her family, but that she has been busy helping others alongside the party. In reply, Lilli tells Keena not to hesitate to allot time for what is important for her.
  • The first thing the dire wolf says when Keena enters his cave is: “One of your ‘friends’ carries the stench of death. … The female one.” Keena replies that she is aware of the problem, explaining that Lilli was hurt and that he need not be worried about her. The wolf keeps an eye on the cleric once Lilli and Talareg are invited to step closer.
  • The dire wolf does not know about The Frozen One, but is aware that the next convergence is coming, has heard of those of elder blood, and even knows about Keena’s plans to leave the continent as part of a longer journey. He is also aware of her mother’s medallion in her pocket, but shrouds himself in vagueness when Keena prods for answers, saying that all will be answered in time. He does, however, reassures Keena that the land will not suffer while she is away.
  • The wolf then inquires about Rana’s whereabouts and asks Keena to watch over her, just as he asked Rana to keep Keena safe: “This path, this travel you intend, it leads towards darkness.” – Keena also mentions to him that Rana said not to think of her as family and asks if he thought that was right. When he replies that he couldn’t possibly say, since he met the warlock only once, Keena adds: “I just have a hard time believing that anyone is completely beyond hope.”
  • Finally, Lilli pushes Keena to inquire about Obad Hai and a possible connection to her mother, and she does so, albeit defiantly. Remaining as vague as ever, the dire wolf answers: “One thing I will say. Your mother was very many things, but just because she didn’t tell you, doesn’t mean it isn’t true. … Her reason for not telling you things remain only with her, unfortunately. We spoke on occasion, but we did not speak of everything.” He adds: “The medallion you found, keep it safe. Very safe. I fear there will come a time in the future where it will be absolutely necessary. … It is not evil. It is more of a tool.”
    According to the wolf, it also is not a holy symbol (which is a relief to Keena): “Think of it as a key. A key that you must keep safe.”
    Lastly, the wolf reminds Keena of his name, which she heard a long, long time ago, but forgot: “My name is Rema.”
  • On their journey back, Talareg, Lilli, and Keena receive a letter from Rana, asking them to stop at Peynol to see if, by chance, a ship is leaving to Anghor, a city of the Drucurian Empire within the next month. And indeed, they find a man who sells them passage for five on a ship leaving to Anghor in fourteen days.
  • Eventually, everyone returns to the guild hall.
38: Travel plans
  • The next morning, Rana is surprised to find her sister preparing breakfast. She nonetheless asks Keena if she could help her create a nerve-soothing tea blend. Keena lists a range of suitable herbs and then goes on to prepare a healing potion. While Talareg is taking a look at the garden and Colwyn works on his latest tinkering project (a grenade), Rana takes her sister out for a sightseeing stroll. They stop by at Anya’s store, where Rana shows Charlie, the six-legged mouse, to her friend. Anya performs a dispel magic spell on the mouse, but the extra pair of legs stay. Rana decides to keep Charlie for now.
  • Lilli finds herself waking up in the guild hall’s temple, but doesn’t remember how she got there. When she walks into the main hall, Rana and her sister return. The warlock asks Lilli how she knew what The Frozen One looked like when she created the illusion in the prison. Lilli explains that she received a vision from Pelor, that she saw that strange being called The Frozen One – and that she had the distinct feeling that he could see her, that he was watching. The cleric adds that The Frozen One touched her wrist in the vision and that it left real marks of cold damage on her skin. Rana suggests that they bring together everyone to talk it through, when Talareg enters, carrying a burlap sack. Inside, he explains, is all the table ware and cutlery that usually placed on the shelves in the main hall. It turns out that Naga, recently identified as a baby drake by Lady Emberbreeze, has moved on from hoarding cheese to now show interest in “shiny things”. Talareg adds that he, in fact, had to exchange each piece of Naga’s new treasure for gold.
  • The party gathers in the office, and Lilli kicks out Tempest, who seems to have the worst hangover ever. Before he leaves, he confesses to Rana that he might have a problem, and that they could talk about it later. – Lilli summarizes for the group what she saw in the vision, about the creation of the world, the chaos of the elements, and how Pelor and (presumably) the other gods created The Wheel to stabilize the elements. She tells them about the first convergence, a lunar eclipse, during which the plane of The Wheel bled into the material plane, plunging the world into chaos anew. Two layers were separated from the material plane, one dark and twisted, the other vibrant and full of life. Over thousands of years, the world finally stabilized, but The Wheel continues the bleed into it, causing fluctuations (and creating dragons over the span of millennia). There was another convergence, which once more brought chaos, but a group of powerful warriors managed to seal away the so-called elders who thrive on the chaos (and, according to what the captured orcs told them, might have caused the first convergence).
    The third convergence, Lilli continues, will occur in one year and seven months, at the dawn of day. Until then, The Frozen One seeks to enslave the world and finally release the elders, probably to unleash eternal darkness on the world.
  • Lilli assumes that “the elders” are a group of chromatic dragons she saw captured in huge ice crystals, and Rana reminds everyone that Vo’dekr, the green dragon they fought and killed, was known to be a creature “of elder blood”. Wondering how they could gather more information, the group decides to go for their local sources – libraries and Lady Emberbreeze. In addition, Rana brings up the Twilight Sentinels again, arguing that there would be more than one reason to seek out their council. Seeing how this secret organization of blood hunters seems to be active in all parts of the world, there is a good chance its members know something about the elders, maybe even about The Frozen One. The warlock also points out that knowing Kel’rorn’s artifacts to be in a magical vault instead of being destroyed doesn’t sit right with her, especially if there is the slightest chance that the soul of her father is still trapped inside Kel’rorn’s crown. Lilli agrees that the Twilight Sentinels might have an answer for this problem, too, if they are willing to divulge any information at all.
  • Rana eventually shows the letter that Dawnbringer Phantom, the Twilight Sentinel the group met in the ancient city underneath Dendros. She also takes a world map off the wall and places it on the table for everyone to see.

Lady Loghda,

If you wish to know more, seek out the Fortress of Dawn. Its location is secret to many. It is the home of the Guardians of the Realm, the Twilight Sentinels.

From Talonia, travel east across the Gleaming Ocean. Past the scorching sands of the Drucurian Empire. Continue north-east into the highlands of the Kelyra Empire. The city of Caershire at the base of the Sundercrest Mountains will be your first step to finding the fortress.

Standing above the Sundercrest bay high in the mountains, you will find the Fortress of Dawn. The journey is your trial. The fortress is the door. The blade is the key. Your questions will be answered within.

Stay safe, child. If we do not meet, you should know that I am sorry.


Lilli asks if the “blade” is referring to the dagger that Phantom gave Rana. The warlock replies that she believes so, and when she takes the dagger from her side to place it upon the map, the dagger suddenly moves itself into an upright position and the blade slams into the table. The place where it pierces the map seems to be the location of the Fortress of Dawn. Rana runs another magical scan on the weapon, but is unable to detect anything that would explain the dagger’s “reaction”. Lilli then asks Rana if she was titled, as Phantom addresses her with “lady”. The warlock replied that, for all she knows, none of her family from either side has ever belonged to nobility.

  • It is then decided that, once they tapped every possible source in Talonia, the party will travel to seek out the Twilight Sentinels’ headquarter. Lilli suggests, however, that the Council doesn’t necessarily need to know about where they are going to go. Ta’lareg agrees and brings up the possibility that not everyone on the Council might be on the same side, seeing how both the return of Kel’rorn and the orc attack were direct strikes against the Talonian Empire. Seemingly taken aback, Rana doesn’t accede the ranger’s theory, but also doesn’t mind keeping their travel plans secret. The decision to travel across continents creates great unease in Keena and she leaves the office in a hurry.
  • As a former Twilight Sentinel, Tempest is able to share valuable information about the travel route, but only does so when he hears that he is not asked to actually accompany the group. He does not want to have anything to do with his former “employer”.
  • Lilli goes to speak with Keena to see if she is alright. The druid explains that the thought of leaving Talonia and her entrusted land behind is a scary one. Lilli points out that none of the party members has ever traveled that far and that they are all in the same boat in this regard. She furthermore suggests that Keena visits her cottage once more before the big journey, so that she can take something of her land along. Perhaps a jar filled with soil. Keena seems to like the idea.
  • Later on, Talareg asks Keena to help him with training Naga, since he hopes that this will not only make her more capable during fights, but also make her hoarding drive somewhat controllable.
37: Interrogation
  • The party interrogates captured orcs to find out more about their master, The Frozen One. However, they don’t get too many answers. Under the influence of Lady Emberbreeze’s magic, the orcs reveal that The Frozen One is located north, but is moving in closer. Aside from his army of orcs and undead (the reinforcements of which were cut off by the Talonian forces weeks ago), The Frozen One also commands a blue dragon and seems to be intent on attacking every land that opposes his power and enslaving the entire population. In doing so, he wants to return the reign over this world to the elders of the first convergence. Suddenly, all three orcs are choked by invisible hands, and, a few seconds later, collapse to the ground dead.
  • Throughout the interrogation, Lilli does not mention her vision. She does, however, raise Rana’s attention when she creates a minor illusion in the form of The Frozen One in an attempt to intimidate the orcs. The cleric explains to the rest of the party that there is something she needs to discuss, but that she wants to do so back at the guild hall.
  • Assisted by her former teacher Quinn, Rana runs an autopsy on one of the orc bodies. A look inside reveals that all vital organs apart from heart and brain look decayed. When Rana wonders out aloud why the orcs fed on humans if they didn’t have a functioning digestive system, Lady Emberbreeze points out the possibility that fresh meat might be what keeps these enchanted orcs alive.
  • Since Lady Emberbreeze is left magically drained after assisting in the interrogation, the party will have to wait a bit longer until the head arcanist can send them back to Talonvale. Delia, Rana’s sister, eventually decides to come along. Rana learns that the orcs made Delia cook body parts of the citizens of Easthallow, leaving the woman visibly traumatized.
  • In the middle of the following night, the party returns to the guild hall.
36: Aftermath and second chances
  • Rana asks Keena to accompany her on the way to Belendithas’ friend and Talareg to keep an eye on Lilli. Once they are out of ear shot, the warlock reports what Lilli did, showing the druid a shard of the broken holy symbol. Rana also brings up the possibility that, if the wrong people found out about this and that the party kept silent, it would mean trouble for all of them. After all, they did promise to protect those who cannot fend for themselves. Keena, however, reminds the warlock that they also promised to protect each other.
  • When they arrive at the house of Belendithas’ friend, they soon realize that they are much too late, but as Keena prays for the dead man, a final breath escapes his lips as his soul is finally released. On their way back, they meet Colwyn, who had checked in on his smithy, only to find it in ruins. They ask him if he knew about the people who lived in the house that Lilli burned down (without actually mentioning what the cleric did), but Colwyn only knows that it was part of the wealthier neighborhood of Easthallow.
  • Back at the make-shift camp at the town center, Rana fills in Talareg, and Lilli uses the chance to talk to Keena. She gives her a letter and asks to cover for her, as she would like to go somewhere, but doesn’t want to be held back by Talareg or Rana. Keena offers Lilli to come along, at least half way, so she can say that the two of them are together, should someone ask.
  • After talking to Rana, Talareg decides to speak to Drakkthar, captain of the Dendrosian guard (he took over from Lady Toma) and an old friend of the ranger. Taking advantage of the captain’s fondness for alcohol, Talareg makes the other man promise to come to him first should he ever hear about “it” – “it” referring to an otherwise unspecified strange occurrence in the retaken city.
  • While Keena searches for the place where all the dead citizens of Easthallow along with the fallen soldiers are brought, Lilli visits her parents’ home after explaining to Keena that it wasn’t quite true when she said that they were dead: “They were just dead to me.”

The house is empty. For a while, Lilli sits in her old room, contemplating. Startled, she suddenly sees a hooded figure sitting next to her. She blinks. It is gone. Lilli wants to leave, but can’t, because first, the door won’t open, then the knob vanishes in front of her eyes. When she turns around, she finds a hooded figure sitting on the bed. The figure asks her to sit down, then removes its hood. It is an old man. It is Pelor, who took on a worldly disguise so he could talk to Lilli face to face.

Pelor returns the broken holy symbol to the cleric and takes her on a spiritual walk. Conceding that he misunderstood her twice, the god adds that he still had faith in her. Lilli answers that she never understood why: “My parents gave me away because I am a monster.”

“No. Your parents gave you away because your father was a monster. You are quite the opposite.” He continues, saying that this was the second time that life was in danger, and she didn’t intervene, even though he had hoped she would make the right decision. Yet, the amount of faith he still has in her leads him to give her a second chance – “A second second chance.”

And being presented with the choice between relinquishing their alliance and fighting evil at the god’s side, Lilli watches her holy symbol as it slowly begins to heal.
“If I’d had time to think, I wouldn’t have gotten so angry. I wouldn’t have done it…”

Pelor implores Lilli to let go of her anger and her pain: “Cut yourself from these ties that bind you this evil, your scars. I offer to absolve you of this cruel subjugation, if you would allow me.”

“But can I absolve myself?”

“I don’t know. Maybe that is what the second chance is for.”

Then, Pelor informs her that a darkness is rising: “It seeks to free the elders that brought upon the first alteration.” He continues, asking if Lilli will accept his light. She receives a vision.

Your vision darkens. You see stars begin to fade in. You are drifting among them, slowly. There is a smashing sound, like the clap of a blacksmith’s hammer, and a flash of light that scatters the stars. The light recedes into a small orb of burning light. The sun. No larger than an average grapefruit. Emitting a slight warmth that you can feel under the coldness.

The voice calls out to you: “In the beginning, the elements were wild. Rampaging and uncontrollable. Chaotic and dangerous. So we tamed them over time.”

There is a world before you now, this world. You can hear voices, laughter coming from it, as if you can calmly hear every person’s thoughts in the world. The world erupts into flame, then ice, then it becomes barren. Then it becomes flooded – “But we failed.” – and slowly comes back to normal.

“So we created the Wheel.”

Circling the planet now is a ring, consisting of multiple images of fire that bend into clouds, clouds that freeze and twist into ice, ice that melts into a sea of water, water that seeps into land, forming an endless swamp. The swamp converges into hills of mud and slowly crusts into rock and mountain. The mountains break into fire and lava, into a sea of fire, that bend into clouds, completing the cycle.

“The world was peaceful for a time”, the voice calls out.
“But there was an event.”

The world slowly grows dark, as the moon makes its way in between the world and the sun. There is a flash as the planets align. The moon rotates away, and you see the wheel slowly leaking into the world, smokey energy being pulled into the world. Multiple layers of the world begin to shake and tear, and two hands reach down to pull them apart.
They pull two separate layers away from the world. One encrusted in a dark and twisted environment, and the other, nearly exactly the opposite. Lush valleys, and bright vibrant colors.

“The event caused the world to fall into chaos for a time. And over a millennia it begun to settle into what it is now. But the wheel still flows into your world, and this causes fluctuations.”

From each of the planes, you see entities breaking their way into the world in various forms. Most die off, others sprout wings and turn into dragons over a period of what you imagine would be thousands of years. There is another eclipse and afterwards, you see the entities more powerful than the last, casting spells, and transforming.

“Each convergence was the start of a new age. You are in the third age now, and the convergence is coming. At the end of the second age, a group of powerful warriors sealed away the elders.”

Your vision is thrust into the northern wastes into solid white and into a valley of ice and jagged crystals. Looking around, the crystals contain something. A form, a body. A dragon. A very large dragon. Four other crystals contain such a body, one of each color. Red, white, black, blue, and green.

The sun, high in the sky, rises to its zenith. And the area grows cold. Footsteps approach from behind and you turn to see a large, lanky humanoid. Its flesh frozen and rotted away. Eyes slate grey. Long, bony fingers. He walks past you, right past you and toward the crystals. He holds his arms up, and his form is consumed by shadow. The area around you begins to flicker, and for a split second, you see into Shadowfell. The dark landscape of twisted black spires and shadow comes into vision for but a heartbeat.
The entity, still raising its arms, mutters an incantation. At the same time, the color begins to wash out from your vision, you look up to see the sun blocked by the moon. And there is a flash, almost audible.

The entity chuckles. There is a clap of thunder that shatters the crystals. The entity looks back to you and grins. You feel a tingle as your skin grows colder than it was, but a warm hand grasps your shoulder and pulls you back out.

Once more standing amongst the stars, the warmth of the sun soothes your skin.
The voice says: “Unless he is stopped, this will happen in one year and seven months. At the dawn of the next year.”

Afterwards, Pelor asks once more if she would accept his light. Lilli does, and she finds herself holding her restored holy symbol.

  • Later on, Lilli demands that Keena accompanies her to the local temple of Obad Hai, god of nature, as she believes that the pendants Keena is wearing – an oak leaf and an acorn – are not a druidic focus, but, in fact, a holy symbol of their own. Unwilling to accept the idea that her mother was not who she thought she was, Keena nonetheless comes along. Lilli and Talareg challenge her to place a hand on the statue of Obad Hai while saying a prayer. When Keena does, she feels a warmth spreading underneath her hand, all the while the statue remains cold to the touch of the other two. This, however, does not sway Keena in her point of view. She finds it only reasonable that a god of nature would react to her nature based magic. Lilli, on the other hand, is not budged in her opinion either.
35: Blood and ashes
  • Tempus Alea along with Gaetan takes down one group of orcs after another as well as several trebuchets, with Colwyn’s “boom tube”, Lilli’s divine powers, and Keena’s druidic forces of nature causing the most damage. Eventually, the orc chieftain emerges from the house of the Easthallow’s former mayor. Frightened by the thunderclap accompanying Keena’s lightning spell, he flees back inside, followed by Gaetan. The rogue corners the chieftain in the office room, from where he is blasted out off the window by Rana, and Colwyn delivers the finishing blow. Before joining Gaetan, Rana discovers that the woman who had been forced to cook and clean for the orcs is none other than her sister.
  • Thanks to the help of the party, Kayden’s forces got their chance to strike and take back the city. While Gaetan and Talareg speak with the officer in command, Lilli sneaks away.
  • Rana leaves her sister in the care of Keena and Colwyn and walks off to find an intact orc corpse, hoping to find out more than the fact that the skin of these orcs is of an unusual grayish blue. In a tavern, she finds an orc that is barely alive. Using telepathy, she uncovers that the orcs who have been attacking from the north are forced to do so by someone or something called The Frozen One – a being like a walking corpse with bony fingers whose appearance is preceded by an ice storm.
  • In the meantime, Lilli sets fire to a building that seems quite familiar to her. As she watches it burn, she ignores the sound of fists bumping against the door. A while after the noise dies down, she carefully opens the now charred door to find three burned corpses, two of which are children. None of them seem to be orcs.
    Two soldiers stop at the house, but Lilli tells them that everything was alright, and they believe her.
    Rana shows up at the scene, noticing that the cleric’s holy symbol lies shattered on the ground. Asking what happened, Lilli answers that she burned down the house and everything inside of it. Rana, too, finds the bodies, more than the three, actually, as the house has begun to collapse and reveal more of its insides.
    Lilli explains that it was an evil place: “I thought I’d feel better, but I just feel cold…” Shocked and unsure what to make of the situation, Rana gives Lilli a hug and returns with her to the others, stowing away the pieces of the broken symbol.
  • Seeing the two return, Keena realizes something is wrong, but, much to her chagrin, Rana refuses to say out loud what happened in front of everyone.
  • Captain Kayden and Lady Emberbreeze have arrived at the city center, and Rana lets the latter know that she wants to take care of Belendithas’ request before leaving, namely to check on an old friend of the high priest.
34: Entering Easthallow
  • The next day, the party gets ready to talk through the plan of sneaking into Easthallow with Kayden. Before leaving, Keena gives Rana the oak leaf pendant she had commissioned, explaining that all the women in her family have worn one of these. Worried that she might be a disappointment further down the road for being unable to meet Keena’s expectations, Rana awkwardly tries to explain that she doesn’t feel quite worthy wearing the pendant, since she knows the druid, after only a few months, already considers the party her new family – a sentiment that Rana doesn’t share. The warlock nonetheless accepts the gift.
  • Back at the Diamond Arcanium, the group discusses the details of entering Easthallow as well as the positioning of Kayden’s men. Since everyone including Colwyn is set and ready to go, Lady Emberbreeze magically sends the party to Kayden’s camp outside of Easthallow. There they are introduced to Gaetan, a rogue. During a previous mission, he and his (now dead) companions found an entrance to the sewer system of Easthallow and Gaetan volunteered to lead the party underground to the town center.
  • On the way to the sewer entrance, the group runs into a shambling mound, which is brought down fast – not at least thanks to the mighty hunger of large goats summoned by Keena.
  • With Gaetan’s help, the party makes its way through the tunnel system of the sewer. They almost run into gelatinous cubes at one point, literally, but Rana lures one of them away with dragon meat so that they can be on their way. Eventually, they arrive right underneath the town center and its fountain. There are four gully covers to choose from. Wondering how they might get a better idea of what is going on above, Keena turns into a rat to scout the area surrounding the fountain.
  • In a nearby building which Gaetan points out to be the former mansion of Easthallow’s mayor, now the orc chieftain’s hideout, Keena makes a grizzly discovery in form of an orc larder filled with human remains. She also sees a human woman who seems to cook and clean for the orcs, and therefore, the druid asks to rest of the group not to bombard the house directly to spare that woman’s life.
  • Deciding that the chieftain’s house should be a decent spot to cause some ruckus, the party including Gaetan leaves the sewer. In an instance, several groups of orcs further down the streets become aware of them and attack. Now it shall be seen if the constitution boon granted to the party by high priest Belendithas back in Talonvale will hold out…
33: A bold proposition
  • The rest of the evening is spent catching up, and Lilli demonstrates the powers of a wand she bought at Anya’s store and which she had wanted to use on Verrin – and turns Rana golden. Glad to be back with her companions, the warlock has a hard time being upset with the cleric.
    Rana tells them about the content of the letter she has been deciphering for the past weeks. Admitting that traveling to the headquarter of the Twilight Sentinels would be more of a private endeavor, she does nonetheless the hope that the self-proclaimed “guardians of the realm” could provide more information on Kel’rorn’s artifacts and how to destroy them. Rana asks the others if they would be willing to come with her, and they agree. The warlock is thankful, but knows that a planned visit to the council the next day might put this journey on hold for some time longer.
  • The next day, the group stops by at Anya’s place, both to catch up and to see if Reza knows if anyone in town is hiring a smith – or if maybe Reza needs some assistance himself. Since he is not in, they decide to stop back in later on.
    Keena decided to stay at home so she can spent some time in the garden. In the afternoon, she goes to pick up a pendant she commissioned (a wooden oak leaf, basically a copy of the one she has) and purchase a book on how to learn Draconic.
  • Talareg, Lilli, and Rana go to see the council and take Colwyn with them. In a meeting with Lady Emberbreeze, Templar Cruice, druid Canir, and high priest Belendithas, the party goes over the events on the Astral Plane, and Rana poses the question how they can continue from there after the soul crystal was destroyed. Cruice answers that, since the person who received the offer to a path of redemption is no longer with them, there no longer is a need to fulfill the vision.
  • Afterwards, the phylactery the party brought back from the black castle is locked away in an underground vault that holds an anti-magic storage device, a spellskite. Together with the sword and the crown of Kel’rorn, the phylactery is now, according to the council, at the safest place possible.
  • Before the members of Tempus Alea leave, Lady Emberbreeze brings up a proposition which Captain Kayden made. He suggested that the party help taking back Easthallow from the orcs by entering the city through the sewers and causing a distraction so that Kayden’s men can strike from the front. After a fairly brief discussion, the party agrees to do it, but requests to talk about the details the next day after Kayden returned to Talonvale, and after the party could talk to Keena.
  • On their way back, the group enters Anya’s shop once more. Colwyn, who decided to help taking back the city he lived in for the past few years, commissions a magical “boom tube”, a device he thought of after Rana told him about Anya’s alchemist fire. Turns out the gnome is not just a smith, but also a tinkerer!
  • Since her return from Peynol, Rana has been conducting experiments on mice to find out more about the effects of the Maiden’s Potion she brought back from the black castle on the Astral Plane.
32: Return to Talonvale
  • With the help of Colwyn, Keena and Rana defeat the orcs, and after taking a closer look at the bodies, they realize that it must have been a scouting group on the lookout for refugees. The rest of the journey to Peynol goes by without any further trouble. In the fisher town, Rana obtains a list with the names of refugees that made it to Peynol and is disappointed when her sister’s name is not on it.
    When Keena and Rana get ready to return to Talonvale, Colwyn decides to come along, hoping that it will be easier for him to find a new position in the capital.
  • Back at Talonvale, Lilli and Talareg accompany Tempest and the woodelf Kathra to take care of a job that was posted on the board outside the Old Guildhall. This is why, when the others come back (to her dismay, Keena finds two trophies mounted in the main hall, which, fortunately, turn out to be fake), they find the Guildhall empty. But a few hours later, Tempus Alea, now without Verrin, is reunited.
31: Home
  • Keena and Rana wake up to find that Verrin had left for good. He wrote a letter to Keena, apologizing for his departure and explaining that he has to find out what is the right path for him.
  • Lilli and Talareg continue to take care of their day to day tasks. In an intimate talk with Pelor, Lilli receives the message that she will probably never see Verrin again – which, given her animosity towards the halfling, leaves her in a chipper mood.
  • From the refugee Meredith, Keena and Rana learn that a friend of hers managed to escape the ettins and that she was hoping he would be able to bring help. And indeed, a group of Talonian guards arrives a few hours later. With them is Meredith’s friend, a gnome named Colwyn.
  • Assisted by the guards and Colwyn, Keena and Rana take care of the wounds of Meredith’s father and the other woman once the cockatrices’ petrification wears off. The guards return to their post near Easthallow soon after. Colwyn, however, wishes to stay at Meredith’s side. The druid and the warlock offer the refugees to accompany them half-way on their journey to Peynol, and they gladly accept. After another night of rest the group sets out. At one point, they see a small group of orcs that fortunately do not notice them.
  • A good distance before Keena and Rana have to leave the road to get to the druid’s home, they split ways with the refugees, but not before agreeing to meet up with Meredith and the others again once Keena finished her private business.
  • Keena shows Rana around the cottage in which she used to live with her mother. A family of birds – wrens which Keena knows from Talonvale – informs the druid that the animals that used to spent a lot of time around the cottage no longer came by that often. Eventually, Keena leads Rana far into the forest that lies right next to the cottage. There, they meet one of Keena’s animal friends, which turns out to be a direwolf of awe-inspiring size. He promises Keena to continue to guard the land. Much to her surprise, the direwolf is able to speak Sylvan but shrouds itself in mystery when she inquires how that can be. Before leaving, the direwolf asks Rana to look out after Keena.
  • When the druid and the warlock return to where they had left the refugees, they watch a band of orcs closing in on the hidden campside…
30: Here and there
  • Back in the Guild Hall, Lilli and Talareg find out that in there absence, Tempest has begun to use the building in accordance with its name. A blackboard has been installed outside where people looking for help with problems of the monstrous kind can post their requests. There now also seems to live an elvish woman, Kathra, along with her dog companion. Tempest is glad to see at least one half of the party return and even gladder when neither Talareg nor Lilli appear to be upset with his rearrangements.
  • Afterwards, the cleric and the ranger stop by at Anya’s shop to stock up on potions. Anya, who now has an assistant, a halfling named Edwin, stresses the importance of not touching the phylactery that is still in the bag of holding. She explains to them, just as Belendithas explained to the others, that the mage who turned into Orcus’ devil could resurrect through the device – but that he would be all the stronger after taking in the blood of each party member.
  • Since Anya does not sell thief tools and furthermore points out that selling those was illegal, Lilli ventures to the shadier parts of Talonvale and eventually finds a man who says he would have thief tools to sell and that they should meet again in the evening. Lilli agrees, but soon after she begins her negotiations at the second metting, she uncovers that the man intents to kill her in order to steal whatever might be of value – and he did not come alone. After Lilli and Talareg take out the man and his two companions, Lilli discovers that several people must have died in that dark alleyway, as she finds various belongings in the murderer’s crates.
  • Keena, Verrin, and Rana travel north, keeping as close as possible to the Dire Peaks to avoid getting anywhere near Easthallow. Halfway through their travel, they hear two low voices. Too far away to make out what they are saying, it is nonetheless clear that these two persons have a good time. When a high pitched cry rings out soon after, the three approach, believing that someone, a woman possibly, is in danger. Verrin arrives at the scene first and realizes that the voices belong to a two-headed ettin which is cooking something over a fire blazing in front of a hut. A fight ensues in which the paladin, the druid, and the warlock defeat two ettins and two cockatrices (which apparently were the source of the pitiful cry).
  • Inside the hut, they find a dead body, two persons who were turned to stone by the cockatrices, and a live woman in shock. The woman’s name is Meredith and after calming down a little, she tells the others that she was a refugee of Easthallow and that one of the petrified persons was her father. Her sister was “still out there”. Rana inspects the kettle that hangs over the fire and finds two humanoid bodies inside, one female and showing a striking resemblance to Meredith.
  • After burying Meredith’s sister and the body from the hut, the three decide to stay around until the cockatrices’ petrification wears off since both stone statues show injuries sustained before the persons were turned to stone. But the question remains what should happen with Meredith and the others then. Should the three leave them in the hut until they return, or take them along on the trip to Keena’s cottage?

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