Dawn Shatter

Epilogue

And so it came to pass that the Land of Anduris was saved in its twilight hour by the Stormwall Alliance, suffering heavy losses but maintaining their strength in spirit. In accordance with their wishes, the God Squad departed this world and left not a trace behind. Their tale became legend, then myth, then like so many things in the analog of history – they were ultimately forgotten.

However the downside of being forgotten is that the lessons learned also seem to fade over time as well. And humans – being such a short lived species – tend to forget even quicker. So in a mere 200 years after the Battle of the Black City, as the former Wastelands have become the lush and green Forbidden Valley, is it any surprise that it was a human that ignored all the warnings and ventured down into the darkness? Well, they do say a Son of Stormwall has Adventure in his blood.

What would he find in the shadows of the forests? Would there be forgotten terrors? He had heard the stories of massive spiders with dark elves fused at the torso, or of dwarves that had fire for beards. Even that the King Who Crawls would depart from his tunnels and roam the forest seeking wayward wanderers to ensnare and lock away in his subterranean prison.

But he found none of that. He found forest. Nothing else. So this human – a man in stature, but a boy in heart – wandered deeper into the forbidden lands. For days and days he ventured onward until the trees became like metal and the leaves as sharp as swords. It was there that he found something different – something new. Ruins, forged of black stone and engraved with ancient words that he would never hope to understand. Surely some magnificent treasure would lie here somewhere?

Help me! Free me!

The words echoed through his mind. So clear and loud that they gave him a headache. “Where are you?” the boy cried.

Beneath the throne. Forgotten by time. Free me. Free me and we shall change the world.

Beneath a throne? This could be no person. No person speaks through the mind. Not in Anduris at least. The boy had heard legends of powerful magical artifacts that could speak. His grandfather told him once of a crazy drunken dwarf paladin that swore there was a devil trapped inside a glove once. Maybe this was one such artifact!

So the human boy rushed about the ruins seeking a throne. And low and behold and a small raised platform covered in vines and moss, was one. A black throne untouched by the encroaching vegetation. The boy launched at the throne. Pushing with all his might. But it would not budge. He gathered his strength once more and pushed again. This time a slight shift. One final time, the boy backed up into the wood and charged the throne at full strength and slammed into with everything he had. And it toppled.

There beneath the throne was a small linen wrapped object. The boy – the human – unwrapped slowly. Beneath it was a tome bound in a worn leather covered, embossed and gilted with an illustration of a sun on the front. He began to flip through the book, strange writing. Similar to that on the stone. But slowly it began to shift and change. The words became common. The rituals began to make sense. And the human – so adventurous, so bold, so foolish – his eyes turned completely black.

Now we begin again.

The End… ?

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Chapter 16: The Black City
Part 2: The White King

The battle against the White King was brutal as anyone could have expected. Blasting out beams from each of the eye stalk tentacles growing from his back, the King controlled most of the fight. The heroes however got a number of great strikes in and eventually caused his luminescent white robes to shatter like glass revealing another form below.

This form was a hideous shadowy beastial form with four arms. Slinging dark spells, and daggers formed from chaotic energies, the creature known as the White King continued his assault. Still, the heroes proved resilient and though the battle drained them they finally dropped the White King to the ground.

As the body of the King lay on the cold stone, the heroes felt a sense of satisfaction. One that quickly turned to panic as the very earth began to shake. The black shadowy form of the White King began to peel away in strands and tentacles up into the sky where it formed into a writhing orb of darkness, covered in nightmarish eyes bearing the spiral symbol of the Dawn and the Elder Elemental Eye. The ground broke apart and launched into the air, the heroes desperately held on and found themselves orbiting the massive monster that called itself SOTH-RAGOT, the Elder Elemental Eye.

The final stretch tested every measure of the heroes’ endurance, as the massive orb grabbed them and burnt their flesh with acidic oozings, torturing them within inches of death. However Ashweaver the Chaosbane, the sword James ‘Rusty’ Al-Kemit was born to wield, piercing the creatures form and brought about it’s ultimate destruction. The heroes descended and finally sealed the gateway using the Key.

With the immediate threat dealt with, the heroes noticed that the ‘chain’ of the world was nearly completely snapped. Wondering if there was any way to fix it, a voice rang out telling them there was. Mortekan (aka Mordenkainen) had arrived, along with the Crimson Wartide. He explained that the Wartide was created in order to protect Rusty and ensure he made it to this day. Rusty demanded to know what made him so special. Mortekan explained that Rusty was the ultimate product of elaborate project to breed a ‘sacrifice’ whose soul would bind this final chain together in order to stop it from ever breaking and freeing what lies in the depths of the Abyss. All Rusty had to do was die in order to eternally protect all of reality.

However, Void – now returned to his true body that was stolen by the White King – reappeared stating that he believed that the heroes were strong enough that a sacrifice was not necessary. That they could venture out into the Planes and crush the forces of the Abyss wherever they appeared, take the fight to them, and end this once and for all. Mortekan argued that a sure thing was better than taking the risk, but the heroes agreed with Void.

Mortekan, furious to have his plans betray him in the final hour, cursed the heroes. Blaming them for the inevitable destruction of reality. Void tore a hole in space and time and invited them inside. When asked about the fate of their friends, Void did not answer. They all went inside the portal, but Rusty had one request: That they be forgotten. That this tale never become the legend. That the world just forgets what happened this day and that the Gods Squad are never seen by history as heroes. Namely because he wanted to piss off his Dad’s spirit. Void acknowledge the request and the party ventured out to their next great adventure…

Years later, as the neighboring kingdoms of Stormwall and Camnir bicker over the remaining resources of the land now that the threat of Haivar had been stilled, a dwarf paladin gathered in a tavern with a tiefling woman and an one eyed orc seer. Every year they met here to see if anyone had seen the one’s they once called friends. Those unsung heroes that once commanded an airship over the skies of Anduris in an attempt to prevent the end of the world. They all sadly say no. There has been no sight of the Gods Squad since the Battle of the Black City. Lenny makes a passing mention to Hafston wondering if their friends had truly succeeded that day, that maybe they perished and failed. Haffston shook his head and said he didn’t believe it. He gives a smile to his drinking parnters and says:

“The world is ending. That’s what they used to say.”

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Chapter 16: The Black City
Part 1: Beneath the Black Stone

The heroes descended down into the sewers beneath the Black City. There they found a twisting, winding series of tunnels flooded with various raw elemental forces: lightning, fire, mercury, water. Following the various tunnels, they found the source of the lightning: a primordial heart. Namely, the heart that was placed in the Dawn Knight Zavris. They reached out the reclaim and found that once they did, the river of lightning halted and the other elements began to overtake the paths once used by lightning.

They continued to try to find the other hearts, following the water path down into a small dropped off area where not a heart awaited them – but Ataqir! Ataqir, the Dawn Knight of Ice, who orchestrated the death of every person in Stormwall at the beginning of their adventure. The time for this final confrontation had come. The heroes jumped down and engaged, cutting their way through the Dawn Knights. All through the battle, Ataqir continued to elude to Rusty’s ‘true purpose’ and how it ran counter of Ataqir’s goal of removing evil from the universe by destroying everything (The thought being that as long as something exists, evil will exist with it.)

Finally, the party vanquished the final Dawn Knight. But no sooner than finishing a short rest do the heroes feel themselves being pulled upwards. The ceiling breaks open and they are flung up through the stone to find the White King holding them in the air. With the slightest twitch of his finger, the White King demonstrates his ability to choke the party. He tells him that he tires of their intervention, that his plan is almost complete, and that there is very little they can do now.

However, Rusty unsheathes his mighty blade – the Chaosbane – and uses it to weaken the White King. As soon as they could move slightly, Matisse launched a spell to banish the White King to another dimension momentarily. Using this time to try to close the gateway to the Abyss using the key of iggwilv and set up a trap for the White King, however as Alethia rushed to close the gate a giant black tentacle burst from the ground in front of her, followed by more that created a perimeter around the party. From beneath the ground arose the White King, now with a new horrific appearance of giant clawed hands, gnashing teeth beneath his hood, and black tentacles coming out of his back with white eyes at the end.

The final battle had begun.

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Chapter 15: The Final Assault

The heroes arrived in their former home town of Stormwall to find that it was now refashioned in a massive fortress. Inside they met in the war room with the other leaders of the Kran, the Crimson Wartide, the Haivar People’s Milita, the Tyjar elves and the Falston army. Deciding that since the 333 souls had already been sacrificed, a full out assault was their best option. However, while the assault was waged the party would be able to infiltrate a small sewer entrance in a river of pure lightning.

The heroes stepped out and gave a last rousing speech to their forces as they began to head out. Many realizing it would be the last time they saw home. The armies marched down the hills of Wyrshan and across the rot that had claimed most of the Falston Fields. From their they descended into the Wasteland proper and began their assault. The heroes took their positions as leaders, guiding their troops through the hazardous and deadly environment, combating primordials and elemental titans that roamed the land, but their skills were not prepared for the sheer horrors of the wastes. Only two thirds of their forces arrived at the Black City when the journey was over.

Even worse, a small army of nightmarish monsters awaited them at the gates. Formulating a plan involving the razor bladed metallic trees they had just run through, they were going to lure the army in their and unleashed traps and use the environment to attack their foes. All the while, the heroes would sneak through the sewer. They used what wizards they could to create a massive illusary wall in front of the trees, that while rushed and imperfect was enough that only upon too close to make much of a difference would the monsters be able to tell what was there. Then a group rode out to provoke the monsters and lure them back. And to the surprise of most, it all worked. And in the bloody battle of the beasts of the Black City against what remained of the Stormwall Alliance, the heroes made their way into the Black City.

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Chapter 14: Under the Dark Sun
Part 2: Trapped in the Free City

Thanks to Shanraa’s manipulations of the Defilers, the party found themselves in the city of Tyr. The first matter that had to be dealt with was their appearance. Regardless of their intent, wandering around a city that hates arcane magic with donkey heads was bound to cause problems. The heroes attempted to craft disguises for themselves.

Once their disguises were set, they took to the alleys trying to make it to the central ziggurat. And while their disguises and stealthy movements helped them avoid the crowds and the templars, they did not elude everyone. The party soon found that they were being followed – by a Preserver!

Preservers were the counter to the Defilers. They believed in finding ways to use arcane power without destroying the world and defiling their bodies. They too sought something inside the ziggurat and made a pact with the party to help each other out.

While the preservers distracted the templars, the party and a chosen member of the preservers snuck inside the now abandoned ziggurat to find some information. They found a massive library, with a mural that depicting the ancient coming of the grey age when the ‘Great Serpent’ came and created the first of the defilers – the Sorcerer Kings. That they used a dark ritual by sacrificing 333 souls to break the ‘great chain’ that ultimately began to kill the world and have it rot away to the sandy wasteland it had become. The heroes saw this and made the connection to the strange ‘Army of 333’ they had heard about in their world, and new exactly what was coming now. The Army of 333 wasn’t a military force… they were a sacrifice!

Rushing to the top of the ziggurat and into the throne room, the heroes opened yet another gateway. The angel reappeared once more, but the heroes were ready for her this time. Calling her out, she revealed herself to the Malicel, the winged creature that had stolen the elemental heart from Zavris in Haivar. And even more of a revelation, Matisse finally put the clues together that Malicel was in fact Camille Veroux – his mother turned monster.

The battle was quick and bloody, Matisse burned his mother to a crisp with his weakened holy might and claimed her brooch, a powerful holy symbol, from her charred remains. Now free of Malicel’s influence, the party entered the portal not to find a massive path full of doors but 12. Twelve doors. All brimming with black light except one. One door was filled with a bright white light. They only hoped that it was the one that would lead them home. They stepped through…

…And appeared in a bar at Forest’s End to the resounding laughter of Haffston Brewsmelter. They had made it home. They found their old crew waiting for them. They got them cured of their donkey heads, and explained that while the heroes had been gone, a whole 6 months, they finished the mission to the last few temples themselves. Haffston had become a paladin of Muradin, and the Raven Queen had granted them the foresight to see when and where the party would return. Now they were gathering up their armies to go to the Stormwall Fortress, and were just waiting on Lenny and Qiton to return with news from Camnir.

However, it is only Lenny that arrives. She reveals that the Army of 333 were assaulting Camnir when they arrived and being led by Nahrees, the Dawn Knight of Earth. Qiton, wanting revenge for the destruction of the Gray Flame, told Lenny to get inside during the commotion and charged in. He fought against Nahrees alone, and in the end they ended up finishing each other off. With the leader now gone, Camnir’s forces quickly slaughtered the Army of 333 in a completely and utter victory, but also sent word that they would not be joining the assault on the Black City.

The heroes were puzzled about this. They had helped the revolution in exchange for their army’s aid. Why would they deny them? However, the now human Shanraa had the answer. Not only had she become a human from a half-orc but her entire history had been re-written by the forces of chaos to match. She was the daughter of a Camnir noble who helped re-establish ‘proper’ order after the revolution for a ‘free Camnir’ proved unsustainable. Now the city was led by a proper council and much was back as it was before the revolt.

Disheartened by the lack of support from Camnir, the heroes decided that in Qiton’s memory they would still march on the Black City with whatever they had. Haffston led them to their horses and they rode toward Stormwall.

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Chapter 14: Under the Dark Sun
Part 1: The Desert

Athas, a strange merciless desert world damned by magic. How is it that they heroes could have ended up here? Was the angel false? Was this a trick? They were stranded here now to search for another Ley Line to open a gate way back home with the Key of Iggwilv. Their best bet lie toward the city of Tyr. A ‘Free City’ mentioned by the wandering merchants (who may have also possible dabbled in slave trading).

For days the party ventured across the grueling desert. The days were scorching and the nights freezing. Matisse caught ill with the desert sickness. Attackers and threats were eluded. But it was when faced with the choice to somehow breach a chasm toward the city, or venture through the caves in the mountains to the other side did their adventure take a turn for the worse.

In the caves they met the Sons of Tyr, a cult of ‘Defilers’: practitioners of arcane magic that steal life from the earth and from others to power their own abilities. Misshapen and deformed, they fled the city of Tyr after their beloved Sorcerer King was destroyed. However, for the party they noticed something else. That the emblem of the Sons of Tyr bore a striking resemblance to that of the symbol of the Elder Elemental Eye… and the Dawn.

However, through cunning and perseverance (using their Donkey Heads to convince them that they too were powerful defilers) the party not only found out that at the seat of the Sorcerer king’s power – the throne room of his ziggurat – was a concentration of ley lines but also convinced them to lead them into the city of Tyr through a secret tunnel to the markets.

While it was unclear whether or not this was a trap, the party ventured on and found that the evil creatures were indeed good on their word and led the party into the City of Tyr.

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Chapter 13: The Dead World of Greyhawk
Part 2: The Temple of Elemental Evil

The heroes ventured into the wilds of the kingdom of Greyhawk until they encountered a massive dark temple – the fabled Temple of Elemental Evil. Following the path of Arnd, Iggwilv, and Mordenkainen before them, they ventured deep into the temple.

They faced horrors and challenges unlike anything they faced back in the home world. They made pacts and bargains to gain the favor of fallen primordials to help forge the Key of Iggwilv. Alethia was freed of her magical addiction by being purged of all ‘temptation’ destroying her wealth of magical artifacts save for her father’s heirloom wand. Shanraa changed not only her face but also her history by becoming human instead of a half orc. Matisse sacrificed his mother’s sword. Malcolm was put to task as a test subject to find a safe passage through a series of cursed doors after they poxed the party with donkey heads.

However, in the end the party forged the Key, and sought to flee the dread temple back home. They fled to the surface and used it to open a gate just as a monsterous abyssal plague infected skeleton knight version of the once proud Sir Arnd appeared at the gates. From the gate appeared an angel who offered them guidance to a portal that would send them home. Believing the being’s words, they followed her through the portal to escape Arnd the Damned.

The angel led them down a path of light filled doors for what seemed like days or weeks – maybe longer – till she stopped at a door and told them this was it. As the heroes walked into the door, Matisse caught glimpse of something from the corner of his eye – the angel worse his mother’s beloved brooch!

As the party tumbled through the doorway, they found themselves crashing on the dry desert sands. Confused as this locale was not familiar to them in the least, they found a wandering caravan manned by a stout bald man and a large insectoid creature who explained to them that they were not in their home world – they were in a land called Athas.

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Chapter 13: The Dead World of Greyhawk
Part 1: The Town of Hommlet

The party found themselves in an eerie dark world where the cracked earth glowed with a deep crimson light and the sky only momentarily illuminated by flashes of red lightning. They wandered into the town of Hommlet only to find it barren and empty. Using whatever illumination they could, they explored the town in an attempt to figure out what was going on.

They discovered the Elder’s Home, where they found charts and books marking off plants and wildlife in the area, many crossed out. They found the log of the town’s recent history which made references to the “Cult of the New Day” which built a temple between the towns of Hommlet and Nulb. It also makes references to the areas around the temple and Hommlet becoming greener and greener in the face of a drought while surrounding areas got worse and worse. Finally, the log made mention of the Lord-Mayor of the Free City of Greyhawk was sending a special envoy to the town and to the temple to investigate.

The party then visited the inn. Here they found the first sign of what was once life. The Inn was covered in skeletons. Some investigation bears a few things, that there is puddle of red liquid lined with silver veins on the ground – a similar sight to the party from the strange liquid in Haivar – and the last few names on the guestbook: Mordenkainen, Iggwilv, and Sir Arnd. While leaving, the party heard something and when they investigated they were attacked by a group of massive demonic creatures that looked like the things being created in the caverns below Haivar. They defeated them but Rusty and Alethia were infected with whatever that liquid is causing boils to start spreading across their bodies from the wounds.

Finally, they investigated the town Church, devoted to what seemed like a monotheistic belief in a deity of light. The church was charred and burned, full of skeletons that were burnt. At the altar there was a burned markings of a circle bearing the symbols of the four elements, and the wall had carved the letters A R N in it. The group contemplated the possibility that the knight Sir Arnd mentioned in the Inn and assumed to be part of the envoy from Greyhawk, had destroyed the church for some reason.

Finally, after investigating, the party left to follow the road to the Temple. Ahead of them on the road appeared to be a spectral apparitions of two men, one in armor, and a woman walking ahead of them. No matter what they couldn’t catch up, and when they stopped the image seemed to continue to keep walking but never going forward…

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Chapter 12: Kranok's Salvation
The Warriors Need Saving? Time for the God Squad!

The City of Kranok

- Party traveled to Kranok.
- They found that the city of Kranok was empty, and in ruin. When they eventually found someone they discovered they were frozen in ice.
- That’s when they were contacted by the survivors, led by the son of the Kran chieftan: Kodur Shatel. He explained that the Dawn and the Ogmars that dwell in the hills (a clan of giants and ettins) simultaneously assaulted the village and hauled off the majority of the town’s people. Kodur tried to save all the women, children and elderly he could into the underground caves.
- In the caves, the party also met Jol Boronak. An Orc seer with one blind eye that sees visions of the future. Despite some initial confrontations with the half-orc, Shanraa. Jol explained that he had foretold of the party’s arrival – but it was to occur before the Ogmar’s attacked.
- The party, wanting to help and recruit the warriors of the Kran, offered assistance. Kodur explained that the best chance was to find where the prisoners had been taken in the Sacred City of Rothane in the mountains. Also that a sacred relic of the Kran, the Tear of Shadows, could be used to free the frozen warriors.
- Armed with a destination in mind, the party set off up the mountains to the city of Rothane. Ordering the Gray Flame to stay on the other side of the mountain in case of an emergency escape.

The Sacred City of Rothane

- The ruined city was crawling with a large number of giants and ettin. The party decided to try to sneak in. While it proved to be difficult, an unfortunately useful distraction by Matisse causing an avalanche proved immensely useful in the task. Unfortunately it was not enough and the party found themselves surrounded.
- The battle was brutal, with more giants quickly en route, the party tried to make it to the entrance only to have themselves surrendering to the numerically and dimensionally advantageous giants. They party was then escorted into a large temple where a figure in a Dawn Robe quickly put them to sleep.
- The majority of the party awoke in a large crowded room full of the Kran prisoners. Mostly warriors and fighters with a few women and children and a single shifter that would cackle and mock the heroes attempts to figure a way out. Alethia examined markings around the room, while Malcolm and Matisse tried to figure out the best way to pick the lock.
- Rusty on the other hand was taken to the lower levels where he found himself awakened by the desecrated and dissected corpse of his father. Across from him was the Dawn Knight Ataqir, to his right the creature known as Malicel. Ataqir quizzed Rusty extensively on why Mortekan had so many notes on him as well as the entire lineage of the Al Kemit family line. He was inquiring to know why the White King viewed him and him alone as such a threat as to merit death and destruction to prevent resurrection. Rusty had no answers. So Malicel escorted him to the prison with the others to await execution. Malicel explained there was no hope for Rusty and his friends. Camnir and Haivar were on the chopping block as the Army of 333 began to move.
- After being reunited, the party began to work on a plan to escape. They discovered mentions of hidden passages, as well as a strange recollection of the Dawn War where a name that no one could recall was mysteriously vanished from the inscriptions.
- After breaking out, the party launched into action to attack a group of cultists in a temple who were worshiping an idol (thinking that the idol may be the Tear of Shadows). However, they forgot they did not have their weapons on them and began to try to attack without them. The party split, with the casters playing defense while the others tried to find the weapons in adjacent hallways. Ultimately bashing in a door, they found their gear and the fight began proper.
- The relic they found was actually a statue to Ogremoch, elemental prince of Earth. They began searching finding some other items, and then a few secret passages. One that led to the hallway where their weapons were stored, and the other downward into the darkness. They tried to descend into the darkness to find that it ended them up right in the middle of a group of cultists doing something to a large minotaur.
- The battle was fierce but the group came out on top. They found the tear of shadows that the cultists were using, and tried to use it to reverse the stone transformation of the minotaur, discovering it was the king of Kranok, Chieftan Bath’tel. Though because of the damage he received while in his stony form, his fleshy body could not sustain his life.
- The party then found a secret door leading out, likely the one Ataqir was using to come and go from the temple. They rounded up the remaining Kran from around the temple, placed the corpse of Bath’tel in the handy haversack, and then led them to safety.

Returning to Kranok

- The party returned to the city and led the people back. Kodur expressed doubts at the ability to lead his people in the wake of his fathers demise, but Rusty and the party reassured him that he could do this. He declared that the Kran would dedicate themselves to the cause of the God Squad.
- The Orc Seer, Jol Boronak, now reuinited with aide, Crisikana, the shifter from the temple, stated that it was now his place to join the crew of the Gray Flame. That he must aide the heroes in their final trials. That they would need him before the end.
- The group mentioned that for the safety of the Kran, Kodur should lead his people to the west through the Orc lands to the town of Stormwall where the magic would protect them till the time came.
- Finally, the party boarded the Gray Flame and decided to head to Camnir and lend a hand against the Army of 333. Alas, while en route the ship began to lurch. Qiton quickly diagnosed the problem as the ship’s engine was sabotaged. Likely by Nahrees while she was living below. As the sky turned dark and crackled with lightning, they ship plummeted towards the earth. Qiton trying desperately to steer it towards Calasin Lake by the town of Calashore.
- In the midst of the chaos, the White King appeared. Quite angry. He declared the party no longer a simple thorn but a threat to his plan. He decided to exile them to another world. And in a flash of black flames, the heroes were gone. Shock fell on Qiton and the rest of the crews face as Jol tried to usher them all back under to brace for impact…
- The party on the other hand found themselves in darkness. Rusty’s attempt to light up using his blessing from pelor to illuminate a lone sign on the cobblestone road: “WELCOME TO THE TOWN OF HOMMLET

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Chapter 11: The Temple of Learning
Puzzles and Mystery Below Winterscorn

After meeting with Mortekan and deciding to head to the Temple of Learning in an attempt to perform a ritual to locate Baern, the party headed north to the Winterscorn Lakes. However, as they got closer to the supposed location of the Temple, Qiton explained that a massive snow storm covered the lakes and kept them permanently frozen. They set down the Gray Flame on the edge of the lakes and ventured into the snow on foot.

After wandering in the freezing cold for what seemed like hours, the party found a door. Just a door. Standing on its own in the blistering cold winds. The doorknob had the symbol of the Astral Pantheon carved into it, so the heroes took the leap of faith and opened it. Inside they found a warm and cozy room with four doors and a strangely behaving clock. The minute hand spun wildly out of control and the hour hand was firmly cemented on the number ‘2’. The party took a second to warm themselves up and then began to investigate. However almost every room they explored was identical to the first. The only exception being the direction the minute hand spun and which number the hour hand was on.

The riddle stumped the party for a good long while as they tried to experiment and test different interpretations of the clues they had been given. However, in the end it was lady luck that saved the day as they stumbled upon the exit that lead right into the temple of learning. Inside the temple they found a large circular room full of skeletal remains and a large steel door in the floor at the center of the room. The party deduced that they needed to find the keys to open that steel door, which was confirmed by a new friend: Sprite. A spirit bound the temple to aid visitors, although it appeared that his connection to the material plane was badly damaged. Sprite showed them around the temple, explaining that each of the keepers hid their key to the Chamber of the Gods in each of the gods’ rooms – the exception being Lolth whose room collapsed during the in-fighting between the worshippers after the gods’ influence was blocked by whatever creature was sealed below.

The party decided to venture into Corellon’s Studio first, at Matisse’s insistence. They found the decorated art studio to be magnificent if a bit dusty after decades of disuse. Matisse freshened the place up a bit and then the party began to examine the puzzle. A painting of a key on a platform. While the party saw the platform, there was no key. Other paintings depicted other objects from around the room on the platform. Deciphering the notes left with the paintings, the heroes figured out the correct order of objects to place on the platform before making the key appear.

They decided to venture into Vecna’s Vault next. The wet and dark well held many vaults that could only have objects placed in them but never taken out. At the bottom of the well, they found the key suspended in midair – however upon closer inspection they found that it wasn’t floating, it was suspended in the thick mass of a gelatinous cube. They tried to figure out the best way to avoid the cube while getting the key, but the room was designed to anticipate this and the stairs collapsed into a slide sending them all down into the pit. From there, Skeletons arose to battle the heroes along with the cube. But for each skeleton killed, a noxious dust filled the bottom of the well, making it harder and harder to breath. Ultimately, the party prevailed in defeating the cube and retrieving the second key.

Finally, they visited Ioun’s Library, where they found Mortekan wandering the stacks. He said he found a ritual that – although poorly transcribed – he thought would do the trick. He set off to the main hall to begin preparation for the ritual. The task for the key however was far more challenging. A chess puzzle compounded with a couple of riddles. The chess puzzle gave the party problems, but luckily some thought about the riddle gave them a clue to finding a key to open the chest and skip the chess puzzle lock. Claiming the last key they headed back to the main hall.

As the group assembled to open the door to the lower level they were stopped by a voice in the shadows – Void had returned but not alone. He brought a new ally, one he explained that had not been spied on for the past few months by Nahrees and thus giving them a wildcard in the war. He introudced the Half-Orc, Wryin Shanraa, a fighter and mercenary by trade. After the introductions were made, Void departed and the party descended into the darkness below.

In the Chamber of the Gods, the party found a room thick with black smoke. In the darkness, broke a sinister crimson grin and a pair of flaming eyes. The creature, who identified itself as one of the First – The Whisper That Screams – was happy to have new toys to play with and launched into battle. However, the heroes made quick work of her and her minions and freed the temple from its ancient corruption. The party was then free to greet the gods on their return.

The Gods were awe inspiring. Not only did Corellon bless his follower, Matisse, but he also began the process to raise the massive temple to the surface of the lake. The gods also asked if the heroes needed any aid, and the party requested knowledge of how to treat Malcolm’s ever increasing problem with becoming a nightmarish monster. The only one who could provide such answers would be the God of Secrets and the Undead, Vecna, but he refused to trade a secret for nothing. So Alethia decided to sacrifice the knowledge of the Star Walker or God who journeyed to the Living Gate and became the Not-Star-Walker to Vecna, erasing the knowledge from the world. In exchange, Vecna explained that the devils are immune to the corruption of the Abyss and their power can be used to overcome such corruption. Vecna told the party to seek out the God of Tyranny, and King of the Devils, Asmodeus in the Temple of Law.

However, their chance for saving Malcolm came much sooner than expected. When they had returned to the main hall, Mortekan was prepared for the ritual. But as they began to cast it, Mortekan realized that they had made a dire mistake. Instead of showing the location of Baern, it would summon him to THEIR location. Baern appeared in his broken mental state, and realizing the party was there he demanded the book once again. The party denied his request, and Malcolm demanded the DevilBlade from him. This only served to make Baern angrier and ignite himself into his elemental form. However, since the party were in a dome made of ice, it began to melt and flood the room with water. The party leaped into action and try to take down Baern as quickly as possible with the ever encroaching water making the situation more and more dire. Luckily, Baern was defeated although not easily. The water poured out from the main door to the temple as the building burst forth back into the surface world.

But it wasn’t over. Malcolm dashed for the gauntlet on Baern’s hand, ripping it off and trying to place it on his own. The entire party immediately tried to stop him and pulled him back from the devilblade. Malcolm raged, demanding to let him have it and that it was the only way to save himself. The party reminded him that while that was true, that Vecna warned them to be careful with the bargain because Devils are known for using anything you give them. They realized they had to figure out what kind of deal to make first. After discussing it, they allowed Malcolm to put on the Devilblade gauntlet. It snapped into place on his arm and began to burn away all of his flesh, replacing it by growing a liquid metal replacement in its place. Malcolm screamed in pain as his body was replaced with the new metallic one. After it took a moment, the new Malcolm stood up and took in a deep breath of air. A deep rumbling voice that was surely not Malcolm’s boomed out, “Freedom!” The party began to draw weapons when the body then announced his master, and Malcolm’s voice came back from beneath the metal face.

After some conversation, the living suit that now kept Malcolm alive and purified from the Abyssal corruption introduced itself as the devil Deodaryx, and that it had made a pact with Malcolm to purify him in exchange for a new host body to act from. Deodaryx was a devil of war, created to spill blood and claim souls during the battles between the Devils and the Demons. For a chance to kill again, he surrended the control of Malcolm’s body and his powers, and vowed to never bring harm to Malcolm’s friends. However, Malcolm neglected to deny him access to Malcolm’s mind, unleashing fonts of knowledge to the devil.

With Malcolm’s safety secured, the party then decided to complete their army and head for Kranok.

Pages Updated:
- The Dawn
- Other NPCs
- The Devilblade of Deodaryx
- Wryin Shanraa
- Alethia’s Research on the Dawn War

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