With the deactivated portal shimmering in the background, you collect Dunedin’s body and lay it on the floor near the center of the chamber. Gothe searches the bodies and returns with several bags of gold pieces, a valuable statue depicting a Githzerai warrior, a valuable gem and a set of magic bracers. As he piles the valuables on the floor, he unfolds a bloody piece of paper he retrieved off of Fengren. He reads it before handing it to the group. It reads:
I cannot stress the importance of holding Fortress Graystone. Among the assignments I have given you, this should be your top priority. I have armed you well enough that you should be able to repel all invaders.
Do what you will with your prisoners, but continue taking them. Focus your efforts on those who seem to be of some importance; do not waste your time with farmers and commoners.
I am sending someone to train your recruits in the use of our weapons, at your request. However, I expect you to leave this one alone. The witch I sent to you was one of my personal advisors, and now she is ruined. Do not treat my people as callously as you do your own.
As you sit, taking in this revelation, a familiar, yet very faint voice is heard: “Heroes…… the portal must…. still be permanently sealed….. as it is a bridge between this realm….the Astral Sea and the Elemental Chaos. This temple was built here…. for a reason. It was built to…… protect….. this bridge from those who…..would seek to use it for evil.“ Amyria says. It is evident that she is very weak and has very little power left to communicate with you. “Samhain….you unsheathe me and…… complete…… the ritual to seal the portal and restore me to my rightful form. Take the ritual….from your Eladrin friend…… and I will guide you.”
Taking the scroll off Dunedin, Sam follows Amyria’s instructions and begins to perform the ritual. After tem minutes a vortex of brilliant energy opens up in the air as the platinum sword is gently tugged from your hands. It rises to hover in the air before the newly formed conduit, tendrils of silver light reaching out to touch it. You are blinded by a brilliant flash, then an instant later, the ritual chamber falls silent.
Standing before you is a young human female of unearthly beauty and grace. Her silver hair hangs down her back, a band of chalk-white pigment stretching from one temple to the other across her eyes. She is garbed in armor made of slender, overlapping plates. In one hand, she holds a leather-bound tome; in the other, the platinum longsword.
“I am Amyria,” she says. “Who are you, and why am I here?”
Khort sheathes his war hammer behind his back and steps forward. “We came here to hopefully free you and stop this sanctum from being used to bring in… rather unfortunate evil demigods. Please… our friend is dead. Do you have any powers that can help us heal him? Restore his life?”
Boreas stands slack-jawed, heaving huge gulps of air. The injuries of the battle ring through his body (ooc: seriously my back is killing me. No more WWE gaming moves)and he stares blankly at Dunedin’s body. A sadness welling up, at the loss of his brother in arms, that only a warden could feel as deep. The glowing portal and presence of this spectral beauty barely register to this massive, hulking beast.
Sam addresses the Keeper of Chaos: “My lady, we are known as the Brindol Brigade. I am Samhain Foamfollower, and these are my blood-brothers in arms (he introduces the group). Our fallen friend there is Dunedin, a wizard of no small skill. You are in an ancient Githzerai Temple, oddly enough located on the Material Plane. I must confess, I know but a small part of your story, but what do you remember? Perhaps I can fill in some of the gaps of your memory. Do you not recall being trapped in the sword?”
Sink furrows his brow and whispers, “The wrong do-gooder died today.”
Amyria looks to Dunedin, then back to the group: “I am sorry for the loss of your friend but there is nothing I can do for him now.”
“I am afraid that I remember very little” she says, looking down in thought, searching her mind. After a few moments she looks back up.
“I remember that I am Amyria,” she says softly, “I was in the sword. I remember you freed me. The ritual you performed transformed the planar breach in this place, allowing it to channel the energy of the Astral Sea. Energy necessary for my transformation.” She looks to you, eyes bright. “I have been reborn with purpose, even if that purpose is yet unclear to me.”
“Does this mean you have become the demi-god that we sought to keep Fengrin from becoming?” Khort reaches behind his back cautiously.
Amyria shakes her head: “No friend. I am no exarch… in fact” she looks down at her body “I don’t know what I am. I will need to pray and speak to the gods to see why they have put me here… what my purpose is.”
She stares, lost in thought, then lifts her head and speaks: “Overlook? Does that mean anything to you? I have a strong pull or imprinted memory telling me I must go to Overlook”
Boreas snaps to, regarding Amyria with thinly veiled skepticism, “We will gladly escort you to Overlook, but we might rest here until we all feel ourselves again. I do not know much of this magic, but I do know how to fight. All will know that I shall fight to the death to protect my traveling allies”
His hulking body flexes as he looks over his brothers.
Sink smiles. “Please, put those pecs away, Big B. We’ve seen more than enough of yer rippling girth today.”
….Well, fight to the death for almost everyone."
Sam rubs the ache in his right shoulder and asks, “There are many questions to be addressed, Amyria, but obviously our first goal must be to leave this place, and return to Brindol. From there, we can heal and regroup, perhaps even get Dunedin brought back before his soul strays too far into the Raven Queen’s domain. After that, we know Overlook rather well, and there will plenty of time on that journey for questions of purpose and identity.
So, brothers: do we rest here, or make haste to Brindol? I’m uncertain of how long before Dunedin is beyond any aid, but I fear we would be sorely pressed by any remnants of Fengren’s forces, or anything at all, we encounter.”
“Whatever you and your companions decide, please do it quickly so we can get on our way with haste” Amyria said.
“If she is called to Overlook, perhaps our worst fears are realized, and the very city may be in peril. Tell me, Amyria, are your feelings of a warning nature, or is the draw a compulsion? If it is a warning, a psychic plea, perhaps it would be wise to not tarry in Brindol for too long, though it is of the utmost importance to save friend Dunedin. Perhaps, I might suggest, there is better aid for him in Overlook, and we might smash two birds with one hammer.”
He looks at her in a thoughtful way. “Either way, a life for a life. This is a fair trade. Let’s seek to better it.”
Sam looks at his battered and gore-spattered friends. “Not all of that is the blood of gnolls, Khort. We wouldn’t survive another ambush in the shape we’re in, be it by Rix or a pack of stray dogs. No, I’m afraid we have to rest here if we are to have any chance of saving Dunedin without falling ourselves.”
He looks around the huge altar chamber, briefly passing his gaze over the corpses of gnolls and villagers alike. “Although, perhaps not in this exact spot. Come, let’s find a more suitable area. Maybe the antechamber or the steps?”
Samhain winces as he shoulders his pack, and slowly, painfully makes for the main exit, casting an odd, unreadable glance at Amyria as he passes her.
Boreas slaps his hand down on Khort’s broad shoulder,
“I admire your urgency and bravery brother, but this girth is a barkin’. Patience, my friend, and we will fight again”.
The party, with Amyria in tow, exits Fortress Graystone via the two massive stone doors to stand atop the stone staircase. The sun is beginning to set on this warm summer evening as the party settles in for a much needed rest. From their campsite atop the stairs of this mountain fortress, the group is afforded a spectacular view of the entire Elsir Vale as it is painted with the hues of a sunset.
Amyria sits with you at the camp, legs crossed, deep in meditation or prayer.
As the sun breaks through the morning clouds, Sam crawls from his tent and rummages through the group’s rations for a meal. Taking a rasher of salt pork and dry biscuits to Amyris he sits next to her. “It’s not much, but it’s food. Lady Amyria, I’m sure you have questions, as do we, but first, let me tell you a story. A tale of a dream, of visions and nightmares that perchance may spark some memories for you, and lead us all to the answers we all seek.”
Sam then begins to relate his dreams of the dark, hooded figure and the amorphous beasts that serve him, of the killing of Amyria in his dreams, of the vision of the motes of light and his mother. Finally, he tells her of the connection between the beast and Boreas’ weapon, but finishes with, “yet I should leave that tale for my brother, as it goes beyond what I can say, and ties his people to you and I as well. So, what does this mean to you, my Lady, Keeper of Chaos?”
“My little friend, I do not know why you keep calling me The Keeper of Chaos but I prefer you call ey Amyria." she begins. “That is an amazing take you’ve told me. Surely they have some meaning – some message – but what I would not know. In fact, I know next to nothing. It is as if I’ve been reborn for I have no memories of anything before I found myself in the Temple room surrounded by you all. I have vague recollections of being in the sword and of the ritual, but that is all. I am being pulled towards Overlook for some reason. Perhaps destiny guides me in the same way it appears to be guiding you.”
Khort considers her words and watches the fire.
“I can’t help but feel a sense of foreboding, as if by the time we get back to Overlook it will be destroyed. How can you be sure the force calling you back to Overlook is benign? You were just captured, in a sword, controlled. Maybe this is more evil magic.”
“I do not share your sense of foreboding, Khort” Amyria said. “I do not have any sense, good or bad, other than Overlook is where I will discover the purpose behind my rebirth. In Overlook I can pray. As I prayed and meditated last night, a vision of the temple of Bahamut in Overlook came to me. I suspect it is there I will find answers or at least guidance. Bahamut is a good and just deity so we have little to fear with regard to my guidance.”
“Is Bahamut who calls to you?”
Amyria takes a bite of the salted pork Samhain gave her and chews it thoughtfully before continuing: "I cannot say for certain that it is he who guides me. Much like my need to get to Overlook, I am getting impressions of Bahamut in my body, my soul. I see visions of his temple when I meditate. "
Khort nods. “Is this temple in one piece? Is it under siege?”
“Alright… Rise and shine, kiddos.” Sink mumbles while nudging Boreas’ slumbering bulk with his foot. “We can drop Amy and her tiny new boyfriend off at The Bahamut Shrine in Brindol while we tend to our fried fey friend. They can continue their praying and k-i-s-s-i-n-g while we prep to continue our journey on to Overlook and their Dragon Lord’s holy place.”
Looking to Khort: “In my visions, it is in one piece.” Finishing her rations, she turns to Sink: " I am ready to go when you all are, however, the temple I seek is in Overlook."
Sink snorts, “No shit. That’s what I meant by their (meaning “Overlook’s”) Dragon Lord’s(meaning “Bahumet’s”) holy place (meaning Shrine). Fuck it. Let’s get on with this."
“Indeed” Amyria says to Sink with an indifferent glare that boarders on distain, “Let’s get on with it.” With that, she stands and dusts herself off before moving to the top of the stairs: “After you. Lead on to Brindol.”
The group packs up and heads back to Brindol. The journey takes a day or two but the path they forged before is easy enough to follow. The traps and misdirection’s set up by Rix on the journey here remain disarmed. It would appear that Rix has given up the hunt…… at least for now.
The trip passes uneventfully. While she seems somewhat distant at times, you find Amyria to be an enjoyable traveling companion, if not a talkative one. When not asking questions about their journey and adventures, she engages the party in casual conversation.
At the end of the second day, the party passes between the guard towers that flank Brindol’s north road. The guards wave and smile as you come into sight, however, their happiness turns to sorrow when they see that you are carrying a fallen comrade. They rush up to the party: “By Ioun’s Grace! What happened to your brave friend? This is a terrible day for all.” The guard turns to one of the watch runners. “Topher, hurry and find Mr. Troyas. Tell him the Heroes have returned and one of them has fallen in battle.”
Khort watches and waits for the return of Troyas. As he does, he calls for a few of the guards to help carry Dunedin and spell his companions.
Within a few moments, Eoffram Troyas can be seen hustling down the street from his home at the Council House towards Market Square where the party waits with the guards.
“Curse the Raven Queen” he says as he approaches and sees Dunedin’s lifeless form. “Guards, quickly, take one of the carts and horses from the guard tower and make haste to the Shrine of the Sun!”
The guards do as they are instructed while Eoffram moves towards to group. “My friends,” he says with concern “what has happened? I trust the rest of you are okay?” Looking over the group and then to Amyria: “And who is this you’ve brought back? You know what…. save it for supper.” He quickly turns and shouts to his conscript: “Topher, make haste to my manor and tell Ms. Caswell to prepare a feast for the Heroes have returned. Make sure His Holiness Martin joins us so he can consult with the Heroes regarding their friend.”
Turning back to the group, he gestures with his hand towards his home: “After you, please.” Extending his hand to Amyria: “My lady, follow me.” You make your way to his home.
Accompanying Troyas, Khort walks alongside him. "We must make haste. The lady informs us of peril at Overlook. Have there been any developments in Brindol?
Sam speaks up, having been rather silent and thoughtful for the last few miles of the journey. “Fengren and his minions are dead, or dispersed. As far as I can figure, Eoffram, there is still danger in the Vale. We found these notes on the gnolls, and a shadar-kai weapons master sent to train them. We still don’t know who is pulling the strings, though. I still doubt that Sarshan is anything more than what he is, a mercenary and arms dealer.”
“The people of Brindol are forever in your debt for putting an end to the gnoll menace that has plagued the Vale of late.” Eoffram says. “We are very lucky that Lady Amyria, though she does not remember doing so, and Sertanian were able to summon you in time to stop him.”
He raises his glass of fine wine: “A toast: To the Heroes of Brindol. May the gods favor forever grace them!”
As you drink to the toast, an elderly man enters the room. “Welcome back heroes, I am Martin, humble servant of Pelor. I am so terribly sorry to see that one of you fell in battle against the gnolls. Do you wish to have a service for him or…..” he trails of, looking to the group.
Sink says, “We wish to resurrect our friend.”
High Cleric Martin’s face turns visibly white at Sink’s request: " Ressure…. uhhhh.. I’ve never… " Martin stumbles over the words coming from his mouth. He is visible shaken and looks to Eoffram Troyas.
With a reassuring nod to Martin, Eoffram says, “It’s okay, Martin. Please begin to make any necessary preparations needed. We can deal with the cost later.”
“Yes, sir.” Martin said with a little more confidence. “I’ve never brought the dead back to life. I’ll…. have to research what is needed. The clerics and I will get to work immediately.” Martin turned and began to leave the room.
“Martin,” Eoffram called to him.
“Select only the clerics who have seen the elf’s corpse. Tell the others that the elf is close to death, and you are working to heal him. I’d like to keep this as quiet as possible.” Eoffram said.
“Understood, sir.” Martin said with a nod before he exited the room.
Eoffram turned back to the group: “I hope you understand the need for discretion in this matter. Returning the dead back to life is not something many are accustomed to and comfortable with, especially with all the troubles in the Vale as of late. Necromancy, being normally associated with dark magics and foul creations, is looked upon with distain and distrust by many. If word gets out that High Cleric Martin brought the dead back to life within the walls of Brindol, it could ruin his reputation and standing, as well as mine and yours. Your friend, Dunedin, could potentially be run out of town if word spread that he has returned from the realm of the Raven Queen. The guards would protect him, of course, but I can only do so much before the people would begin to mistrust me. It’s a very delicate subject, as you can see.” Eoffram lets out a sigh. “Let’s hope it does not come to that, though.”
A grand meal is ushered in by wait staff and set on the table. Once they leave, he continues: “I instructed Martin to employ only the clerics who have seen Dunedin’s corpse to help with the ritual. Their faith will prevent them from speaking of the matter. The guards who helped you at the gate are another matter, though. It would be best to buy their silence to ensure our secret remains safe. Is this something you’d be agreeable to?”
[Out of Character: It should be noted that I do not want this to sound like extortion. I am just trying to come up with a creative way of having you guys pay the 500gp since Brindol would most likely cover the cost for their Heroes. I also want to instill a sense that resurrections are not commonplace and are often frowned upon. That is all, not get to posting.]
Absolutely, Eoffram. I understand the need for discretion, as I am well familiar with prejudice against magic. It is too bad that so many don’t see that magic is itself neither good nor evil, it’s what the user does with that power that matters.
More important, though, is this issue of your guards. It’s been my observation that no matter the bribe, it’s the integrity of the person that seals their lips. What I’m trying to say is, if a guard would talk, he will do so regardless of what we pay him.
“I understand your concern, Sam.” Eoffram said. “We won’t present it as a bribe, as much as it will be a reward for hard service in the name of Brindol and for helping to carry the injured elf to the temple to be healed.”
Boreas discretely puts his share of the ritual on the table, grabs a small cask of ale, and walks outside. As much as he would like to see his brother in arms reanimated, he has seen this type of magic before, and is wary of it.
Khort puts out his share. “It is our pleasure, and we are grateful for your willingness to stretch your belief systems to save our friend.”
He sips thoughtfully at his mug of beer. “Do you know of any reason why our new friend Amyria may have no memory?”
Sam turns his attention from Boreas’ retreating back, consternation on his small face. Leaving his barely sipped wine, he rummages through the party’s packs; he finds what he seeks and turns to Eoffram. Placing a large, exquisite gem on the table in front of the councilor [OOC: the 500Gp gem], he says "such magics are neither easy, nor inexpensive. This should cover the material cost for the ritual. As for rewarding the guards, I meant not to disparage their honor, but these are times of conflict. Forgive my doubts. What amount would suffice? "
Eoffram holds his hand up to the part in a gesture saying ‘no more’: “You all are too generous. The gem will be more than enough to return Dunedin to life and to keep any rumors of necromancy quiet. No please, let’s eat and enjoy the evening.” Eoffram takes a long drink off of his wine and takes a few bits of food.
Turning to Khort: “I know little regarding the details of magic, my friend. Based on what you have told me, perhaps her memory loss is part the rebirth she experience. Perhaps she is not the same Amyria or is only a fragment of the Amyria in the sword. I have no idea, to be honest.”
Amyria listens into the conversation quietly before pushing her chair back and standing: “If you’ll all excuse me. I’d like to stop by the temple before turning in for the night. Good night.” She leaves the room.
After a long night of festivities, the group awakens in the plush bedrooms of Eoffram’s estate. The smell of bacon and tea rouses you from your alcohol induced slumbers.
Once you all get dressed and make your way downstairs it is just before noon. Much to your surprise, you find a familiar face sitting at the dining table, staring at the variety of breakfast foods spread before him on the table. Dunedin looks up to you all as you enter.
Before words of greeting can be exchanged, Eoffram’s squire, Topher, enters the room and hands you a note: “You’re lady friend left this on the door this morning. It was addressed to you.”
The note reads:
Thank you for all you have done and for escorting me to Brindol. My journey leads me to Overlook and I cannot tarry here any longer. I have secured passage to Overlook with a trading company.
Samhain, I will find you when you arrive in Overlook for I feel we will have much to discuss.
Khort snorts. (Sorry couldn’t help myself.) “She has no idea how dangerous these roads are. We must make haste to catch up with her! How long will the resurrection take? We can do double time to make up the distance, but I fear we will find nothing but a wrecked caravan!”
Dunedin, weary, staring at his food with little interest says quietly, “It is bleeding.”
Dunedin? You ok?