Unsung Heroes - A History
The game began with the heroes Arjhun, Clint, Hrothgar, Julian and Kip approaching the capital of the Kingdom of Light Immaculate – the city of Everlasting Dawn – upon the vessel H.M.S. Puritania VIII. They were beset upon by orcish pirates aboard the commandeered H.M.S. Puritania XII and led by Warboss Uzkull da Hammahead. It was in this battle where the heroes met Polyhymnia, a golden dragon and Peacekeeper in Everlasting Dawn.
The skill of the heroes proved to be too much for the orcs, and they managed to capture the Warboss and the Puritania XII, as well as recover a strange stone tablet marked with ancient Dwarven runes.
Everlasting Dawn, the capital city of the Kingdom of Light Immaculate, is a densely packed metropolis on the coast of the Empyreal Sea. The city is circular in design, sprawling out from the Divine Monarch’s Ecclesiastical Citadel, with traditional roads replaced by wide aqueducts that interconnect the various districts. The architecture varies from tall, immaculate spires, adorned with golden suns, to squat, grubby buildings built of stone and stucco, and all are in close proximity, creating a chaotic web of alleys, walkways and bridges. There are thousands of people here, of every race and creed, but Pelor is heavily favored in the presence of golden suns, both paint and sculpture, that adorn many of the structures and much of the population. Despite the dense population in Everlasting Dawn, the members of the order of holy knights known as the Peacekeepers are never hard to spot, due to their hulking plate armor of polished silver, often heavily adorned with white robes and golden holy symbols. The city takes its name not only from the reverence to the sun god, Pelor, but also from the strange astronomical occurrence of everlasting daylight, though the moons continue to rise and fall from the sky to show the passage of time (while the ruby moon remains an ever-present sight in the heavens).
While on their way to find a place to stay, the heroes and Polyhymnia stumbled upon the trial of the Warboss, overseen by Inquisitor Regula. While Regula called for the orcs death, Polyhymnia intervened, suggesting that the heroes be the ones to choose his sentence, as it was they who had fought with him and brought him in. After a long debate, it was decided that Warboss Uzkull da Hammahead would be put to death by burning, and the Invoker Arjhun performed the execution.
After some searching, the heroes found an obscure little inn known as The Night Room – a cool, comfortable place where it was night all the time, in contrast to Everlasting Dawn’s never-ending sun – where they met Fritz Firefly, a gnome with fiery red hair and tiny golden motes of light that drifted around him. Fritz proved to be a very likable gnome with an incredible talent for cooking.
Inquisitor Regula found the heroes in their new home and, feeling the Pelor had great plans for them, offered them the chance to become “Inquisitional Familiares” for the Inquisitors under her direct command – an offer which they turned down.
Despite their decision, the Inquisitor left a barbarian with them; a human that had been found stowing away on one of the trade vessels from Frigia. Regula felt that the barbarian did not belong in a jail cell and that the heroes would be able to make better use of his talents. The barbarian turned out to be Ragnar Wolfbreaker, son of the Devil King of Frigia.
Regula also asked the party if they would be willing to perform mercenary work for the church, for which they would be well compensated. Members of the Radiant Shield chapter of Peacekeepers were sent to Dunleigh to investigate the city’s long silence, but never returned, and so the heroes accepted the task and left to investigate. However, they never made it to Dunleigh; as they neared the city, they found a carriage under attack by two Chaos Knights in service to Nurgle – demonic god of disease and rot. The Chaos Knights had already killed a man and a woman, and were about to take a young boy when the heroes intervened. With no chance of fighting off a pair of Chaos Knights, the heroes distracted the beasts and managed to extract the boy, before they ran away to return to Everlasting Dawn with the news – Dunleigh had been lost to the servants of the demon god.
The boy, Oran, was left in Polyhymnia’s care after the heroes discovered that she was relieved of her duties as Captain after attempting to undermine an Inquisitor at the trial of Warboss Uzkull da Hammahead.
Upon hearing of Dunleigh’s plight, Inquisitor Regula immediately set out to gather her fellow Inquisitors and the Archbishops before the Divine Monarch Apollo Diomedes to discuss the use of the empire’s ultimate weapon – Exterminatus. After some research, the heroes discovered that Exterminatus was a ritual whereby the Divine Monarch called down the fury of the sun itself and cleansed whole cities in holy fire. With no idea of how much time they had, the heroes rushed to Dunleigh to search for survivors.
The night before the heroes set out for Dunleigh, Hrothgar began to craft an armory, in the event that they might fail and the forces of Nurgle would reach Everlasting Dawn. During this time, he also asked for Moradin’s guidance as he worked the last of the magic out of his family’s own anvil, crafting something that he would never lay eyes upon, before sealing it away within an immense stone chest.
Dunleigh was a walled city on the edge of a cliff overlooking a vast field densely populated with tombstones and religious iconography, all standing in memorial to those that died there is a fierce battle that helped to form the empire that ruled before the rise of the current theocracy. Within Dunleigh, they found three factions at work – the demons of Nurgle, the cultists of Orcus, and the wyrm priests of Tiamat.
After some difficult battles, the heroes discovered a church in which the survivors had holed up, defended only by the few remaining Radiant Shields. During the battle to defend the church, one of the Peacekeepers was injured and immediately contracted Nurgle Rot – a terrible wasting disease that, once it had killed a person, would turn the soul into one of Nurgle’s own rotting servants. Hrothgar accepted the terrible task of putting the young lady out of her misery, and Arjhun cremated her so as to ensure that she would not become a servant to any of the dark factions in the city.
The heroes learned that two men had dared to venture into the catacombs beneath the ancient church to search for a way out. Following after them, the heroes found two men – one, a dwarven scholar by the name of Cruxly Blackquarry, and the other a dragonborn Avenger of Tiamat named Pyre Swiftfall.
Hrothgar located a wall that appeared to be of newer construction than the others, and with everyone working together, the heroes managed to bash their way through and enter into an ancient chamber in which a Goristro demon was trapped within a magic circle by Apollo Diomedes and his companions who had foreseen that, one day, there would be heroes coming through here that would require the ancient beast’s assistance. The Goristro bargained for his freedom and agreed to keep the heroes safe in the following tunnels so that they could aid the townsfolk in their escape from the city.
Also in the chamber was a wall of dwarven runes that, despite Cruxly’s vast knowledge, were beyond even his ability to translate. After investigating the wall, Hrothgar found the place where a rune was absent and he slid the God Stone into place. This caused the Runes of Moradin to activate and they gave the heroes a message: Search for the Hunter’s Forge.
The Goristro informed the heroes that the Hunter’s Forge was used in ancient times to craft weapons for the champions of the gods during their war with the primordials. He knew it to be hidden away in the Coppercourse Mountains, beyond the Valley of the Colossi, but he knew no more beyond that. In exchange for the heroes’ memories of his true name, the demon informed them of an Eladrin of immeasurable age living in the Feywild city of Eruaran who was said to be an Exarch of Corellon and one of the only people to have ever known the true location of the Hunter’s Forge.
Armed with the message from Moradin and an immense demon, the heroes descended into the Underdark and through a long abandoned Kua-toa monastery to finally exit beyond the field, where they found the Divine Monarch Apollo Diomedes, Archbishop Cynthiana, Inquisitor Regula, and a squad of thirty Sisters of Battle – the Peacekeepers most adept at combating Nurgle’s forces – preparing to perform the Exterminatus ritual. The Divine Monarch praised the heroes for their bravery and asked that they return to Everlasting Dawn where he would be able to meet with them officially.
On their trip back to Everlasting Dawn, Hrothgar’s chest was found to be very warm, and strange, thorned vines of black iron had begun to encircle it. Several attempts were made to open the chest, but the vines proved to be far too strong to be broken.
After witnessing the Exterminatus ritual from afar, the heroes returned to the Night Room, where they found a new person staying – a beautiful, tan-skinned woman by the name of Naadirah Perizad Zareh-Sharan. The woman told the heroes that she was to be forced into an arranged marriage on her birthday, and that she’d wanted to see the world before then. The heroes agreed to tell their tales to the woman, and they spent many hours drinking and talking in front of the fire.
Eventually, the heroes went to sleep, but they weren’t allowed to relax for very long before Naadirah appeared in Hrothgar’s room, where she used powerful magic to silence everything within the room and attempted to kill him. Simultaneously, wraiths appeared in the rooms of Hrothgar’s companions, and a savage fight ensued. The fight ended with the heroes’ success and the vampire retreating, threatening Hrothgar that his family lived in a place with no sunlight to protect them. Also before her escape, she promised that Lord Suncross would eradicate the heroes, an announcement that shocked Arjhun, as Suncross was the surname of the humans that had been his only family before they vanished from the monastery in which he was raised.
Grasping this opportunity to please his mistress, Julian slipped out of the Night Room during the combat and hurried to Polyhymnia’s home to retrieve Oran, claiming that he would be taking the boy to see his companions who had taken Oran under their wing. Once Oran had been secured, Julian took the boy out of Everlasting Dawn with the heroes in pursuit. After losing the golden dragons that his companions were using to find him, Julian handed Oran over to an Angel of Tiamat – the source of his warlock powers – and was rewarded by having his limbs torn away from his body and he was left to die in the forest as the Angel returned to his home plane with Oran, leaving behind only his toy gold dragon, an item which Ragnar retrieved and kept with him at all times.
With no idea as to what had happened, the heroes retrieved Julian and took him to see the Divine Monarch, who informed them that Tiamat had wanted Oran due to the fact that the boy had somehow inherited Orcus’s infernal power after the demon king had been slain by his own hand. The Divine Monarch revived Julian and performed a ritual that sent the heroes to Luna, the silver moon, where they found an enormous crystal citadel built in honor of the heroes that Apollo Diomedes had fought alongside to bring down the demon king Orcus. In the citadel, the heroes were each granted a portion of power from the deceased heroes in reward for their service, and then returned to their home in Everlasting Dawn.
With no idea where to go from here, the heroes returned to the Night Room, where Ragnar was greeted by two of his kinsmen – Thordis and Skard. The barbarians had grave news for Ragnar, informing him that the tomb of their king, Ivar the Boneless, had been pillaged and that unrest was spreading throughout Frigia.
The heroes agreed to aid Ragnar, and so they booked passage on a trade ship to reach the islands that made up Frigia. Unfortunately, on the way there, they found the ship’s cargo to be trapped by bombs fashioned from sophisticated clockwork. The bombs exploded in the cargo hold, causing the vessel to sink, while strange humanoid skeletons made of copper and clockwork climbed the hull to attack the heroes on the deck. Kip was cut down in the battle, his body tumbling into the sea, and when Hrothgar attempted to retrieve the body, the steamfiends dragged him down into the icy depths as well. Also lost in the explosion were Hrothgar’s longtime companion, a giant lizard by the name of Kitty, and the mysterious chest that entombed Hrothgar’s artifact.
Frozen and miserable from the loss of their companions, Arjhun, Clint, Julian and Ragnar dragged themselves onto the nearest island, though they knew not which one it is. While exploring the islands, the heroes found that Frigia’s interior islands were hidden behind enormous walls of jagged ice that ran between the exterior islands; they also met a hunting band of elves, and learned that they were on the island of Valsgarde.
Rather than killing the trespassers outright, the elves decided to take them to see their leader and perhaps put them to work. Through the chieftain, the heroes learned that Ivar the Boneless had returned, and he was leading an army of automatons built on humanoid frames with the intention of destroying Everlasting Dawn. After offering the heroes two prisoners of war to bolster their meager troupe – an elf by the name of Theren and a genasi named Dia – the chieftain sent the heroes to see his wife, the Winter Witch, a sidhe that could see the whole of the island. The sidhe sent the heroes to battle with an enormous clockwork golem, itself a factory with the purpose of converting humanoids into the strange unlife of the steamfiends; the steam factory had been attempting to convert a large white dragon that was viewed as the guardian of the island. Though they won the battle, Theren had been taken by the walking factory, and his conversion had begun with his arm being replaced before he was freed from it.
Their task completed, the heroes were escorted to the edge of the island, where they were made to cross the ice wall connecting them to Hulterstad, home of the goliaths. During their trek across the wall, the heroes witnessed another of the steam factories rising out of the ocean, this time carrying the enormous corpse of a dead whale to unknown ends. Also while crossing the ice wall, the heroes discovered that they were a network of tunnels, allowing the steamfiends to run from island to island without the need of a ship.
After reaching Hulterstad, the heroes found a lone goliath, Akkituyok, fighting off a wave of steamfiends in a losing battle to protect the shrine to Kavaki the Ram-Lord. Before he could ask the heroes for help, Akkituyok sighted smoke signals in the distance, and he realized that the shrine was already under attack. Together, they rushed to the ancient monastery, where they fought off the steamfiends and encountered a new enemy in the form of a purple worm converted to the clockwork army.
During the battle, Polyhymnia appeared in the skies overhead, demanding that Julian be turned over to her so that she could bring him to justice for what he had done to Oran, and also for helping to empower Tiamat. Unfortunately, when she landed to take him, the purple worm appeared again, bursting up out of the frozen dirt and grabbing Polyhymnia in its huge mouth, before dragging her deep into the earth.
When faced with the choice of either aiding the goliaths or following the steam worm to rescue Polyhymnia, the heroes ultimately descended into the earth, leaving the goliaths to defend the shrine alone.
Deep underground, the heroes found another strange factory, this one collecting ice as easily transportable fuel for when the steam army left Frigia. Arjhun led the attack on the factory after seeing the tail of the purple worm as it slipped down into the frozen pool from which the steamfiends were collecting the ice. After the battle, Arjhun alone dived into the frozen pool and disappeared from sight, while the central building in the facility – a strange copper tower – began to move and drill up into the ceiling and into the basement of the goliaths’ shrine.
Rushing back up to the shrine, the heroes found the goliaths all dead and Naadirah standing amongst the steamfiends that were collecting their bodies. With a smile that showed her vampire fangs, Naadirah invited the heroes to come and join her for supper with Lord Suncross.
When Arjhun came to, having apparently blacked out in his frantic chase, he found himself within the copper tower, his father by his side and nursing him back to health. Arjhun feared the worst, that his father had been in charge of the army all along, but Mikal Suncross revealed that it was in fact Arjhun’s brother – his own son – Lothar Suncross that was in charge. Mikal explained that, though what Lothar was doing was terribly wrong and would surely condemn him to the Abyss, he simply could not abandon his son and so he stayed.
The heroes were brought to a large dining hall, where they sat amongst a whole coven of vampires, awaiting the appearance of Lord Suncross. Below them, a thick glass floor revealed a huge factory with dozens of metal arms slowly picking apart Polyhymnia, still in her gold dragon form, who had already lost her face to the steam worm.
Once Arjhun had been reunited with his companions, Lord Lothar Suncross finally appeared before them, and he was revealed to have become a Bodak death knight – a powerful undead creature formed by the touch of absolute evil. Lothar explained that it was his goal to retrieve Oran from Tiamat, and the Rod of Orcus from the Divine Monarch so that he could resurrect their dead demon king. Lothar offered the heroes the chance to join his cause, for Arjhun to rejoin his family, but his offer was answered by the heroes smashing through the floor to rescue Polyhymnia and fight their way out of the horrid place.
Pursued by steamfiends, the heroes rushed across the island and crossed the next ice wall to Trulben, the home of the savage white-scaled dragonborn. They were made to face a colossus of immense power before they were allowed to meet with Lord Dirgecry, the leader of the dragonborn, whom they found to be living in a tower of black ice and so tainted by the touch of the Abyss that he was little more than a huge mouth on a scaled mass of amorphous blubber; Polyhymnia, already half-turned, was distrusted amongst the dragonborn and made to stay behind in the village. As they discussed joining forces to battle Ivar the Boneless, the wall of the tower exploded and the heroes found themselves face-to-face with a flying ship held aloft by the bloated flesh of a whale.
The heroes fought hard to defend the tower, but the enemy’s cannons proved to be too much and Lord Dirgecry was badly wounded. Another volley of cannon fire cut down Julian, and the curse laid upon him by Tiamat transformed his body to solid platinum. After defeating the enemy and commandeering the flying ship, Julian’s body was left at sea, and the heroes sailed on to the island of Jelling.
Once on the island of Jelling, the heroes found the settlements for the retired war heroes to be in ruins, appearing as though the steamfiends had already been to the island and taken all that they wanted. However, the heroes found a cryptic message – the name Garshasp – written on the wall in blood. Soon, they found a trail leading into the mountains, where an emergency shelter had been built and was now being used as safe haven for the old soldiers, now led by Garshasp, once Ivar’s most trusted warlord.
Unfortunately, the place was not as safe as it seemed, and the heroes recognized some of the vampires they had faced before amongst the servants. Another fight ensued to secure the aid of the aged soldiers and their hidden sailing ships. Finally, the battle would be brought to Borrehaugene, the central island and the throne of Ivar’s empire.
When the heroes arrived at Borrehaugene, they found the battle had already begun, with the combined forces of the elves, goliaths and dragonborn attacking the island from the south, west and north, while the heroes and their barbarian companions approached from the east. Finding an airfield on the coast, the heroes commandeered another whale ship and took flight, sailing high above the battle and finally locating the very heart of Ivar’s operation. Donning strange bat winged gliders, the heroes descended to finally face Ivar.
Ivar’s citadel was a huge copper cylinder that bored straight into the heart of the island, with dozens of floors populated with hundreds of steamfiends, most of them scurrying to perform tasks that no one but they themselves would understand. Inside the fortress, Ragnar found a beautiful room of glittering crystals with a casket of ice set upon a dais in the center. When he approached the casket, he finally laid eyes upon his mother for the very first time, laying perfectly preserved inside her frigid tomb.
The heroes pressed on and, finally, they entered the throne room and faced Ivar the Boneless, his ruined body now replaced with one of metal and steam; overhead, a glass dome gave a view of marine life, the chamber apparently having been built beneath the ocean.
Ivar told Ragnar he was proud of his son and that he would forever regret having to kill him. A massive metal door slammed down behind the heroes, and Ivar launched lightning from his copper hands into the ceiling, shattering the dome and causing the ocean to begin pouring in on top of them. Despite this trick, the heroes finally fought and slew Ivar the Boneless, before retreating behind his throne and into a secret chamber.
Inside the chamber, the heroes found a pedestal and a pair of floating glass globes. When Ragnar placed his hands upon the globes, he found that his body formed a conduit for magical energy between them, and a portal opened upon the pedestal, while ocean water began to seep in around the door and through cracks in the compromised walls.
Ragnar, realizing that someone would have to stay behind to power the spheres, retrieved the gold dragon toy from his backpack, now dirty and dented from their travels, and he handed it over to Arjhun. Finally, he told his companions to go, and he held the portal open for them to escape, before he removed his hands from the globes and turned to meet his frigid fate as it broke down the door and rushed in to flood the small chamber.
The portal deposited the heroes onto a wooden floor in a cool room that seemed very familiar to Arjhun and Clint. Once again in the Night Room, the heroes found the bar to be populated by vampires, with Fritz in chains of cold iron, and a daeva artificer enthralled to the vampire lord guarding the place.
The vampire knew of the heroes and knew what their appearance here meant for Ivar’s mechanical army and Lord Suncross’s plans. To prevent the heroes from approaching her, the vampire summoned a pair of ogres to block the stairs to the balcony and then commanded her thrall to attack the intruders. The thrall’s mental defenses eventually proved too much for the vampire and he freed himself from her control, while Arjhun brought his god’s wrath down upon their foe to engulf her in holy fire.
Once the vampire had fled and the ogres were unsummoned, the daeva revealed himself to be Zachar, a man in service to the holy empire and bearing the task of tracking down and lending his aid to the heroes.
After freeing Fritz Firefly from his painful shackles, the heroes learned that the vampires were using the Night Room as a base of operations within the holy capital, but they hadn’t made any moves to attack the city yet.
While the others spoke, Clint set to bashing down the front doors, as they had been sealed by the Divine Monarch after the first appearance of vampires within the small inn. The doors collapsed before him, and he was greeted by the sight of a gold dragon laying dead in the street, his throat torn open by savage teeth.
The heroes exited into the city and found Everlasting Dawn to be under siege, Tiamat’s forces rushing through the streets and her dragon followers swirling in the skies, engaged in combat with Pelor’s gold dragons. Following Zachar’s idea that they should see the Divine Monarch, the heroes began to fight their way through the city and towards the ecclesiastical citadel at its heart.
A cry for help from a familiar voice detoured the heroes, and they found Inquisitor Regula, already badly wounded, facing off against a large black dragon alongside a trio of similarly wounded Sisters of Battle. Clint led the charge against the black dragon, and the heroes efforts were succeeding in pressing the dragon back, but the battle was further complicated by the appearance of a second chromatic dragon, this one a huge green dragon.
The dragons eventually were forced to retreat, the overwhelming force of the heroes and the Inquisitor with her Peacekeepers proving to be too much for them, however, Regula had sustained several lethal wounds, her armor largely ruined by the black dragon’s acid, and her breathing ragged from the green dragon’s poison. Slumped against the wall of a burning building, Inquisitor Regula used her dying breaths to thank the heroes for their aid, and she told them to find Archbishop Cynthiana in the citadel, before she sighed and was still.
After a time, the heroes had finally managed to fight their way through the city to the heart of it, where they found the citadel protected by dozens of Peacekeepers and a single, gargantuan gold dragon. The heroes were granted entrance, and outside the throne room, they found the eladrin Archbishop Cynthiana in a panic. She explained to the heroes that the Divine Monarch had sealed himself inside of the throne room and was performing a ritual that she did not recognize.
Fearing Exterminatus in the capital city of the empire, the heroes rushed to the throne room, but they found the entrance to be blocked by an invisible wall of force. Inside, they could see the Divine Monarch, crouched inside of a circle of diamond dust with the Rod of Orcus laying in a beam of sunlight. Try as they might, the heroes were unable to beat down the wall of force, and were subsequently forced to watch as a dome of sickly green energy slowly expanded from the Rod of Orcus, engulfing everything that it touched.
With the ritual completed, the Divine Monarch got to his feet and began to make his way to the throne, while his splendid silver armor rapidly rusted away to nothing, and all of the life was drained out of his body from the green light. After a moment of intense, blinding light, the heroes saw the emaciated, husk-like corpse of Apollo Diomedes sitting upon his Golden Throne and the Rod of Orcus reduced to nothingness, save for the emerald skull.
Hysterical, Archbishop Cynthiana rushed to the Golden Throne, weeping at the feet of the Divine Monarch. Theren attempted to console her, while Arjhun retrieved the emerald skull from the charred remains of the ritual circle. With the skull in hard, the heroes were left with two options: take the skull to the Hunter’s Forge to have a new rod forged so that they might be able to retrieve Oran from Tiamat’s clutches, or find a place to hide the skull where no being would ever be able to find it and have Orcus’s power.
The heroes decided to take the skull and rush through the city to return to the Night Room and, from there, find Eruaran somewhere in the Feywild. As they turned to leave the citadel, the Archbishop Cynthiana finally stopped weeping, and she arose to her feet and turned to deliver a message to the heroes: “The Divine Monarch hopes that you will exercise great caution, and he promises to ask that Pelor’s Blessings be granted to you.”
Upon returning to the Night Room, the heroes found Fritz in the process of packing up his belongings. He had decided that now was a perfect time to return to his family, a tribe of nomadic gnomes in the Feywild. In return for having saved his life, Fritz promised to lead the heroes to the city of Eveningsong, which wasn’t far from the Night Room.
The city of Eveningsong was a beautiful city that sprawled down the side of a mountain and over the foothills in waves, ending finally at the edge of a cliff overlooking a vast, sparkling sea so blue that it makes the Empyreal Sea seem drab in comparison. Most of the building in Eveningsong were towers built with large open areas every several stories where tall, majestic trees were planted, their drooping boughs so dense with greenery as to almost hide the buildings that supported them.
Approaching Eveningsong, the heroes found that the city was guarded and patrolled by dread zombies clad in black armor and edged with golden designs. Worse still, they once again found themselves in the hospitality of vampires, the creatures having overthrown the city government and taken over. Shortly after meeting the Lord Knight, Aleister Moreau, concerning gruesome murders occurring in town, the heroes were invited to meet with Angelita Savage, one of the high wizards at the magic college, and sister of Lucius Savage, the vampire baron of Eveningsong.
The heroes reveal that they are in search of information on something ancient, from a time before the gods had left the world, and Angelita shared that they would likely be able to find the answers they seek in the warren of a very old creature living outside of town.
Finding another den of evil seemed to be the last straw for Arjhun, as he and his gear were missing from his room at the inn the following day when his companions were readying themselves to head out. They spent some time attempting to locate him, fearing that he had perhaps been targeted by the vampires, but there was no sign of him. The search was not entirely fruitless however, as the heroes managed to locate a warforged that had powdered down and was lost amongst the foliage in a park.
Without their invoker and longtime companion, the heroes went to follow up on their only lead; it turned out to be a trap however, and the heroes found themselves in the gallery of the Hate Blossom, a half-medusa, half-marilith druidess lich of incomparable power and age.
A particularly nasty trap in the gallery resulted in Theren being turned to stone, and then reduced to dust when the statue was pushed through a magical portal to test its effects. However, the Hate Blossom resurrected the dead elf and held him in the Gallery of Hate, her personal sanctuary. Theren conversed with the Hate Blossom while his companions fought and puzzled their way through the dungeon, and in doing so, he learned that the Hate Blossom’s ancient rage was the product of centuries of loneliness.
In exchange for the safety of his companions, Theren promised to return to the Hate Blossom once his task was finished and live out the rest of his time with her. The Hate Blossom acquiesced, and even offered the use of her considerable army of enthralled demons so that the companions could strike back against the vampires that enslaved Eruaran, as that was indeed the past name of the city of Eveningsong.
When they returned to Eveningsong, the heroes were summoned to the personal chamber of Baron Lucius, where they found the vampire docile and harmless, as though drugged, and it was his lover – an eladrin – who had requested their presence. The eladrin revealed himself to be the Exarch of Corellon that the heroes had been searching for; he further explained that he agreed to being Lucius’ lover so that he could use his mystical blood to keep the baron docile and allow his brethren to grow in strength for the eventual rebellion.
Eruaran knew of the immense task that the heroes had accepted, and with their promise to return and help the eladrin usurp the vampires, Eruaran used his magic to form a globe that would guide them through the Coppercourse Mountains and bring them ultimately to the Hunter’s Forge.
As they prepared to return to Everlasting Dawn, Arjhun met his companions in the Night Room, with his armor resplendent once more and a renewed sense of purpose driving him. He also had with him an artifact thought to be lost: Hrothgar’s chest, still clad in dense, metal vines.
The war with the dragons seemed to have left Everlasting Dawn by the time the heroes returned, though the city remained on high alert. Proceeding with the utmost secrecy, the heroes left Everlasting Dawn and crossed the empire to its western border, formed by the jagged, bronze-colored stone of the Coppercourse Mountains. The mountains themselves were swarmed with undead, chief amongst them was a wicked dracolich, but the orb guided the heroes safely to a cenote that sank deep into the mountains.
A deep pool of cold rain water awaited at the bottom of the cave, and so the heroes dived in one after another, before moving on into strange tunnels that seemed to wind their way through numerous other realms, including the Shadowfell, the Feywild, and the Abyss, before finally leading them to a pair of immense doors, so ancient as to be half-overtaken with rock. The doors opened onto the Valley of the Colossi, a natural stone corridor along which innumerable bodies stood, each emaciated and half reduced to dust, all of them standing a thousand feet tall and wrapped in rotten burial shrouds. Sand filled the air, and there wasn’t a sound to be heard beyond the howling of the wind.
After what felt like weeks, the Valley of the Colossi ended, and the heroes found themselves in a large clearing of stone, where huge piles of immaculately crafted weapons and armor were stacked in discarded heaps around an enormous anvil and forge. A dwarven demigod worked the forge, pounding out the metal without a hammer, as his hands and forearms were so coated with slag that they now acted as his tools. The huge dwarf, standing twice as tall as any member of the group, was very happy to have visitors and even happier to have new work to do.
The blacksmith took Hrothgar’s chest from Arjhun and smashed the vines with a single blow of his fist. Inside, it was revealed that Hrothgar had forged a new shaft for the Rod of Orcus. After complimenting the craftsmanship of the rod, the blacksmith took the emerald skull and worked throughout the night to join the two halves of the rod together. Finally, the heroes had what they needed to pull Oran back from Tiamat’s realm – the Dragonspawn Pits.
The heroes found the perfect place to perform the summoning ritual in the heart of the Wraithlands, amidst the tumbling wreckage of the mighty temple that once served as Orcus’ portal into the mortal realm. The temple wreckage stood amidst a small sea of boiling mud, belching searing gouts of steam high into the air.
The Red Eye of Orcus loomed over this place, closer now than ever before, and the surface of the moon appeared to crawl, as if formed of thousands of enormous insects.
The ritual was performed and the portal opened, forcing out a solid globe of translucent green glass, with the still form of Oran frozen in its core. No longer a boy, Oran had aged considerably since his capture, now appearing to be a boy of sixteen or seventeen years old, with his body marred from months of torment.
Following the orb through the portal was Julian Sands, once-ally to the party, now a denizen of the Dragonspawn Pits and a servant to the dark goddess Tiamat. He made the group a simple offer: Oran, in exchange for Arjhun.
“What is left for you here?” the warlock asked with a snide smirk. “You’ve accomplished nothing here save the death of hundreds, your most trusted allies amongst them. The creature you loved is dead, and your family of monsters now brings ruin to the empire. Come with me, and offer up your strength to Tiamat, for she knows your destiny, and for that, you will know no peace as long as you live free.”
Determined to free Oran, the companions refuse the offer and attack. Julian proved to be stout competition, and as the heroes fell, black portals began to open amongst the ruins; the portals offered glimpses into the hellish Dragonspawn Pits, and worse, gave its denizens access to this realm.
As the dragons made their way through the portals, Oran’s voice reached out to the minds of the heroes. “Use the rod. Bring down the final weapon and end this.”
The grey sky was blotted out, hidden behind the ever-growing form of the red moon. Fissures appeared in the surface, revealing a hideous core of crawling red light that bathed all the wraithlands in its crimson glow. The first shards of the crumbling sphere landed someplace far off with a distant crash like roiling thunder, but soon, the enormous red splinters crashed to earth all around the heroes, shattering the ground and throwing up great clouds of dust that whirled into malevolent shapes in the howling winds. Finally, the scarlet core was fully exposed, but the light of it was too great to look upon; forced to shield their eyes from its intensity, the heroes never saw it as it slammed down onto the earth, annihilating the remnants of Orcus’ once-mighty temple.
When the heroes opened their eyes once more, they found themselves standing in a sleepy little graveyard, surrounded by the bare, slumbering trees of late autumn, and a cool wind blew across the ground, carrying the crinkling leaves in loops through the air. The calm of the place stilled the fire in your blood, and eased their fears.
Glancing around, the heroes soon spotted a slim, beautiful woman, with pale flesh and flowing black hair that was tossed in the breeze. On her shoulders she wore a great cloak of raven feathers, and a mournful look upon her face.
“It is an incredible thing that you have done,” the woman said, without looking upon the heroes. “You have beaten the odds, all of you, but now you are here, where all things eventually find their way.” She looked up finally, and her eyes were the shining black orbs of a raven. “I am sorry that it has to end this way.”
A thousand shadows emerged from the darkness, and the wind intensified to a hurricane’s gale.
“The Rod of Orcus. Give it to me.”