- The next morning, Rana conducts some research on oath breaker paladins at the Diamond Arcanium. Much to her frustration, the library books only confirm what she already knew. In order to redeem themselves, oath breakers have no choice but to enter the path of redemption and pass a challenge which more often than not end in the death of the endeavoring paladin. Back home, Rana vents her anger in a prolonged rant witnessed by a confused Ta’lareg.
- Verrin continues to mainly stay in his room where no one can bother him. Ta’lareg offers to fix the busted door, but the halfing makes it clear that he wishes to be alone.
- Lilli and Keena spend the day at the hospital in the poor district of the city. During lunch break, Keena asks Lilli about the scars that go all around her wrists, but the gnome seems rather reluctant and does not wish to talk about these old wounds.
- On the second day, Ta’lareg sees his chance to patch up Verrin’s bedroom door while the halfling burns a decent stack of pages full of writing in the main hall’s fire place.
- When Lilli and Keena return from the hospital that day, they notice that it is awfully cold in the Old Guild Hall. Ta’lareg informs them that a while ago, the temperature dropped considerably, the fire went out – and he could have sworn that he heard whispers. Suspecting the warlock to be the origin of these events, the druid and the cleric go downstairs where they find Rana passed out in the sleeping corner of the workshop. On the floor, they see a ritual circle filled with letters and symbols none of them can read. Anya, who is still working on the magic locks, lets them know that she checked the warlock’s vitals when she came in earlier. To the witch, it looks like the ritual Rana tried went wrong.
Which is exactly what happened. Calling for her patron to grant her Eldritch Vision, Rana had hoped to gain more information about her grandfather who somehow is connected to the Twilight Sentinels as well as Kel’rorn. Upon failing to complete the ritual, the warlock passes out after intense pain curses through her head and she takes a small dose of Exeth root.
Unhappy with the situation – and doubting that applying magic locks to both doors of the workshop is a wise thing -, Lilli shakes the warlock until she wakes up. Appearing to be heavily drugged, they can’t get any coherent information from Rana and decide to let her sleep it off.
- During dinner, Lilli and Keena tell Ta’lareg about what they found downstairs, and in return, the ranger informs the other two that he saw Verrin burning those pages. Since Lilli wonders aloud what was with people putting everything in writing, Rana asks her to explain the dislike, to which the cleric replies: “When you write things down, people can find them and use them against you.” Intrigued by the answer, Keena asks if Lilli used to be a spy. Once more, Lilli shuts down, refusing to give any more detail.
During the conversation, a letter for Rana arrives.
- Next morning, Keena brings tea down to the workshop to check up on Rana who feels surprisingly well, even if exhausted. The half-elf continues to scold Rana for not filling the rest of the party in on her ritual casting plans.
- When both of them ascend from the basement, they find Verrin dressed and carrying a heavy backpack. Asking where he was going, the halfling responds that he would return to his parents to keep them safe. Asked when he would return, he answers: “Never.” The other two and then later Ta’lareg as well, try to stop Verrin, that is, to make him change his mind about not coming back at all, seemingly without success. At that point, a stark naked Lilli walks into the main hall, and with the comment, “You wanted to know about my past”, she presents her body which is riddled in scars telling a horrific story of prolonged slavery and abuse. Accepting a table cloth from Ta’lareg’s hands, Lilli then proceeds to look at Verrin and asks where he thinks he is going.
- Verrin uses the conundrum to slip out of door. While Keena, Rana, and Ta’lareg follow him outside but stop before reaching the street. Lilli, on the other hand, refuses to be shaken off that easily. Appealing to Verrin to stay, the halfling eventually drops his backpack (apparently ignoring the tug of a seed of darkness within him), but continues to walk off – followed by the cleric. And thus, Verrin makes his way throughout the town with Lilli in tow, who soon looses the table cloth and wanders through the streets naked, unnoticed by the guards. While Verrin tolerates Lilli’s presence, he does not offer her anything to cover up with. The gnome continues to demand that Verrin fight the darkness inside.
- Back at the Old Guild Hall, Rana opens the letter she received, but is only able to make out a few words as reading the ever-changing glyphs – they are similar to the ones in her grandfather’s journal – soon becomes too taxing.
- After a stop at the park, Verrin, still followed by Lilli, makes his way to the temple district after he begins to hear a strange, disembodied melody. There, he eventually walks into the temple of Bahamut. Ta’lareg, who went to search for the two at some point catches up but stays in the background as Verrin approaches the statue of Bahamut where he engages in a quiet conversation with the draconic deity. Eventually, he leaves and everyone returns to the Old Guild Hall.
- Later that night, Ta’lareg and Keena wake up in terror as they thought to hear a pitched scream. Even later, Ta’lareg finds Verrin in the hourse temple in front of the three statues, unmoving. Unsure whether or not the halfling is awake, the ranger does not approach and only watches until Verrin goes back to bed.
- The next morning, Verrin attempts to leave, but as he steps over Lilli who decided to sleep in front of the main door, she awakes and grabs on to his leg. Verrin tells her about a vision-like dream he had, about a long journey, a boat, a river, a temple made of brass. He also saw a jagged crown and a double-bladed sword. Lilli recognizes a few things, but is unsure what the dream exactly might mean. Verrin adds that he heard a voice in the back of his head saying that “he must not be released to find the crystal and destroy the crown and the sword”.
- Verrin goes to find Rana and ask her to extract the memory of the vision from his mind. It takes a few attempts. When Rana sees the artifacts of Kel’rorn, the crown and the sword, she grows white, but she proceeds to share the dream with the rest of the party:
You are wandering an empty void.
Your surroundings suddenly fade in, you’re standing on an impossibly long pier.
You look back to see the Talonvale.
You look back, and there is a boat in front of you.
Without thinking, you step into the boat.
Blackness, darkness all around.
You are moving in the boat.
Wandering toward something specific, a goal in mind perhaps.
The sun up above you, visible, warm, but not releasing any light.
An island forms suddenly. Drawing ever closer.
The boat stops nearby.
A large mirror appears in the darkness as you draw closer to it.
There is a presence nearby.
Or maybe there was a presence.
The mirror shimmers and flashes a dull blue color.
Streaks of light bend inward like they are being sucked into the mirror.
You reach your hand out, and touch the surface, it ripples like water.
You step into the mirror, crossing the event horizon.
Tingly, in pain, numb, happy, sad, all at the same time – and then you feel normal.
In front of you, a vast twisted forest.
Above you, a silver sky, gray clouds moving slowly off in the distance.
Dark streaks swarm and bend, their ends so far away you can’t tell the distance.
Blackness surrounds you once more, then fades.
You see a large castle,
you enter the door.
The blackness fades to reveal a jagged luminescent purple crystal on an altar. Flickers of light swirl inside.
There is a muttering, a chant.
You feel an evil presence in the room. A strong dark presence.
The crystal shatters, and there is a scream, a high pitched scream that sends a shiver down your spine.
Darkness once more. It fades again, and you are holding the crystal.
Evil and ominous, the crystal has a swirl of light inside, it forms a face silently screaming at you.
You throw the crystal away, it lands in a thick bubbling river.
A humanoid figure in long black tattered robes, dull grey skin, and a featureless elongated head slowly nods to you, and continues down the river, on a long boat. You and all your friends step into the boat.
Before you are two artefacts. A dark jagged crown, and a double-edged blade.
The boat continues down. And darkness takes you once more.
It fades as you leave the boat, looking up into the sky, you see a land covered in fire, molten peaks, and volcanoes dot the area.
Ahead of you, you see a temple, made of solid brass. You approach. And darkness takes you again.
It fades, and you are clutching a hammer, made from solid flame, but it does not hurt you. On a large golden anvil in front of you, the crown and the sword lie. You smash them, and darkness takes you.
- As the vision ends, the others see that Ta’lareg jumped up from the crate he had sat on, a mixture of rage and deepest pain on his face wet from tears. Asked what was going on, he releases his rage in a scream and punches the wall, while Lilli backs away from the display or raw anger: “I’ve been there before. I’ve seen that crystal. In the Underdark. – The night I saw that crystal the person I loved was taken from me…”
Keena realizes that the scream from the vision was the same she heard and felt the previous night.
Rana draws a connection between the vision and what she read at the library, interpreting the dream not only as an offer to Verrin – a path of redemption – but also as a solution to destroying Kel’rorn’s artifacts.
- Rana and Keena go to see Belendithas in his office at the Diamond Arcanium, where both crown and sword are still stored away. The high priest is able to help them interpret some parts of the dream (astral plane; plane of fire with the fountains of creation and the Dawnforge; crystal has something living inside of it, like a soul gem, probably the work of a lich; the river from the vision seems to be the river Styx which borders the Nine Hells and the Plane of Fire; crystal might work as a payment to cross the river; Kel’rorn resides in the Abyss; Dawnforge is the best place to destroy crown and sword; island past boat travel could be Duranthion). Belendithas wants to reference Gilean’s library at Dendros to look for more information. Keena and Rana then return to report back to the others.