Homecoming

Chapter 8: The Crypt of Prince Tillian

Homecoming Act 1: Session 8 - Played on Sunday April 4, 2009

The following passages are as retold by Sir Christian Paladino, Knight of the Raven Queen

Traveling north towards the woman’s camp, after several hours we found the woman's brothers. It was very obvious they didn't trust us as they kept their weapons at the ready; however they let us lead them back to the keep. Once inside and they met their sister face to face, they opened up to us, apologized for their blunt nature, and recounted a similar tale to us as their sister. They profusely apologized and repeatedly told us they were in our debt. After talking with their leader who was seemingly the only man among them that spoke common, my companions and I decided we should stop by their camp and talk to their grandmother, find out what favor the man who had caused this wanted. While awaiting Shar’konin to complete his studies, the men insisted that we relax while they prepared a customary meal. The food was pungent, spicy, very much not to my liking; however I ate what I could with a smile on my face as to not insult the cooks. When Shar’konin was ready we performed the ritual to dispel the evil magic. The intact frozen statues began cracking and melting apart and the knights collapsed. We tended them as best we could and they told us they were beset upon by a sorcerer who froze over the keep. They had just greeted the messenger from Valewood Hollow just before they were attacked, though the messenger didn't fare so well. Him, as well as several other knights, fell before the beasts and the magic that assaulted the keep. We told them of the kobold army that we believed was going to be attacking Valewood Hollow and the knights vowed to go to Auguston to petition the Baron. We informed the knights we would travel north to the camp of the gypsies and gather information while they recovered, letting them know we would be back the next day.

The woman and her brothers lead us to the gypsy camp. There we were greeted by the smells of similar spices used in the food we had eaten the day before. They introduced us to their families and the man that had been speaking to us thus far went off to make arrangements for us to meet the elder woman of the camp, a Seer he called her. Shar’konin and Immerien were whisked away by the women and men of the camp, enthralled as if they had never seen an Elladrin before. A gypsy woman grabbed my hands and tried to draw me into a circle of dancers clad in full plate. I couldn't stomach the idea of more of that spicy food but the choice between dancing with the woman and eating some of that stuff was pretty easy. She didn't speak the common tongue, so I just motioned over to where several of her kin were preparing food. Surprisingly it was palatable that time. Still not something I'd eat if given a choice but it didn't make my stomach feel like I was racing my horse over rocky terrain. After a while the man came out and motioned to us, saying that his Grandmother would see us now.

We all entered the tent, unsure of their customs. The elderly woman was seated on a small blanket with candles lighting the room. All kinds of books and trinkets littered the place, piled high in here. The floor was dirt, except the blanket she sat on. She motioned for us to sit so we did. We talked for a while and in our conversation we mentioned the Ashenwood. She chuckled maniacally at us and went on to tell us that the Ashenwood was not the forest we were in; it was a place on the Fey world. We guessed that this place was just named for the other. We inquired about how we would get there and she told us of a tomb that lay many hours north of the camp. Inside the tomb is a key of sorts, a key that would reveal the location of the portal to the Fey world. When we questioned the witch about the sorcerer, she told us he came to her requesting she use her magic to seek out and find the hand of Vekna. She refused him and cast him out of her camp. Vekna, being an old god, dead, and referred to in the Wandering Prophets scrolls. Through our research of the scrolls and conferring with the gypsy witch, we determined that the man was looking for all the separate parts of Vekna to restore him to the mortal realm and reign death and destruction upon the world, reshaping it. Arkham seemed drawn to these ravings as if they didn't come from some ancient scrolls, generic enough to fit about anything and this crazy gypsy seer. I tried to keep us focused and on task. At one point she said we have a choice. We can go north for the key, find the portal, travel through to the Fey lands beyond and there we will find the kobold army we seek. If we do so, this sorcerer will find the hand and destroy the world. If we chose not to do that and turned our eyes to him, we could stop him from getting the Hand of Vekna, but then the kobold army will come through the portal and destroy Valewood Hollow. We left there even more unsure of our path than ever.

As we traveled the road back towards St. Milo Keep, Arkham and I got into a heated debate. I wished to return to Valewood Hollow. Help set up defenses and ensure that the town got the support it needs from the Baron. Arkham wanted to travel north and find the portal. We argued bitterly about it, and in the end, agreed to tell Sir Gregory, the ranking knight, the entire story and then return to search for the portal. We traveled back to St. Milo Keep. There we revealed to Sir Gregory the entire scope of our story, including being witness to Gibson receiving money from the kobolds. We provided him with the letters we looted from the kobold camp talking about using the fool human Gibson and informed him of the death of the Baron's blacksmith in Gibson's service against us. We then warned him to beware of Gibson when he traveled to Auguston to petition the Baron for soldiers to defend Valewood Hollow. He was shaken by our story but listened as we recanted every detail. I hope we've made the right choice and that this plot both begins and ends with Gibson. I hope we aren't throwing these weary and beaten knights to the dogs when they go to Auguston seeking help for Valewood Hollow. I hope that Master Fairfax and the order of Raven Queen Knights that gathered at Valewood Hollow can handle the portals without us, as it seems we need extensive travel to unravel the mysteries of this kobold army. Uncomfortable with the outcome, the group decided to continue north.

And so we left St. Milo Keep and traveled north. Through the woods, following the landmarks the gypsy witch laid out for us. Eventually, well after dusk, we came upon a wrought fence, which beyond were many small pillars rising from the ground with orbs on the top. Following the fence around, we found an opening; a fence with a large gargoyle head where the key would be. As we stood there looking for a way to open the door, the thing spoke to us. It demanded to be presented with the blood of Elladrin royalty to enter. Arkham tried asking permission, to which the thing quickly responded that it would not allow him to enter. Unexpectedly, Immerien took a dagger to his palm, slicing it open and letting the blood flow, to which he stuck into the gargoyles mouth. It sputtered a bit and then granted him passage. The gate swung open.

We entered and looked around, and I recalled from the conversation with the gypsy which that she referred to the place in the Fey world the portal went to as Dark Fey or something similar. When I inquired with Immerien and Shar’konin as to its location in their world, they only knew it was a vast journey from one of the Elladrin city gates. Shar’konin and Immerien believed this was an Elladrin graveyard of sorts. The place was alive with unholy magic, as out of the corner of our eyes we would see pairs of Elladrin soldiers dressed in uniform walking down the paths between the pillars. When we looked, they were gone. When we approached what appeared to be a large tomb figures flickered in and out and appeared to guard the tomb. Two shadowy Elladrin with polearms blocked the stone door into the vault. From around us we saw others gathering up, some with bows, some with blades. Through the doorway walked one that appeared to be ranking member of the guard. He looked up at Immerien, who had presented himself in front of us. Immerien stated that we had come to pay our respects to the dead. The undead thing looked back at him and asked if he was from the western lands. Immerien seemed unsure, but he answered he was. The thing screamed in rage and yelled that the blood of his kind would decorate the tomb. Everything became clashing blades and the hum of bowstrings snapping.

Through the flurry of blows I saw Immerien flicker out of existence and appear behind the lead wraith and then my attention turned to two bowmen that had come up from behind us. Several blade wielding phantasms closed in on us. Taking blow after blow, my armor riddled with arrows, we were barely able to fight them off, and like a puff of smoke on the wind they would dissipate. Badly wounded, I turned and saw Shar’konin recite a prayer to an Elladrin god and watched as Immerien struggled back to his feet. The lead figure had fled into the tomb laughing at one point. Now we catch our breath, before we pursue the unholy creature into the tomb in search of the key that will guide us to the portal to Ashenwood.

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Slayn

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