Empowered by the combined magic and blessings of the Iron Band, Rhawunel faced the dragon Zonthul in single combat. At the end, Zonthul’s head and claws lay split upon the rock, the great green body lifeless. Rhawunel, and the Iron Band, were triumphant.
Immediately they set about collecting Zonthul’s blood and butchering the corpse. As a being of ancient magic, the dragon’s power could be harnessed in countless ways. Most importantly, it could be used to break the Dragon’s curse.
Through the magic of the Iron Band, Rhawunel called out to her brother Nabac An’Angren, who stepped through a tree and appeared before them. He immediately cupped Zonthul’s blood and drank deeply. His daughter stood behind him, shocked at the site, but at his urging she, too, drank Zonthul’s blood.
As the poisonous blood roiled in their veins, Nashia Arie beheld a sign appearing on the faces of father and daughter alike.
She reached out and touched Nabac’s face, and the mark flowed down his cheek, across her fingers, to settle on her arm. At the very moment, the skies roared with distant thunder—Vindur stirred on his throne in Terranimbus. The Prophecy of the New Day was now set in motion.
Nashia reached for the sign on Aine’s face, but it did not react.
The Tale of Nabac
Aine and Rhawunel were reunited with Nabac for the first time in years. Eager to hear his story, and to challenge him for his absence, they asked him what he knew.
When Angren fell, Nabac barely escaped, using his magic to confound his assailants. He fled rom Caonach, heading south to avoid the Summer Lands of Mairg.Barely in control of his own magic, he stumbled upon the lair of Zonthul. There he surrendered to the dragon, offering his service in exchange for an apprenticeship. With the Dragon’s help, Nabac tamed the wild magic in his soul, learning to control it.
Then, as told in Helena’s letters, the painter Thander was brought captive into the Dragon’s Domain. Forced to paint a massive canvass with the dragon’s image, Thander toiled while Nabac watched.
Weeks later, the princess Helena herself stumbled into Zonthul’s domain, seeking her friend Thander. The dragon eagerly added her to his collection, and at last Nabac’s heart was moved. His own plight could not excuse standing by while he did nothing. Over time, he learned of the princess’ life, and shared parts of his own.
In the end she won his heart, and at great risk Nabac betrayed his master, parting the illusions and spells of the valley to let the Princess flee. For his treachery, Zonthul cursed him and all his descendants to become what they’d betrayed.
Nabac fled into the woods as the curse overtook him. First his body, then his mind, began to change, filling him with selfish, cruel, cunning thoughts. He searched for the human princess who’d captured his heart, and at last found the great city of Vercinget, capitol of Borgondhi. There he shared one night with Helena before departing.
He never found her again, for when she was discovered with child, King Ralzemon had her banished to the cloistered abbey. Nabac was forced to flee as the dragon spirit continued to devour him. Through fairy paths, across the rivers of Emankorrak, through the forbidden valley of Kraius and over the Dragonspire Peaks he’d fled, following a call he could not understand. At last he came to Achuaknamm, the Hamure Temple of Sorcery. Half a dragon by now, he fell into the path of a wise dragonborn mystic: Master Sora. Recognizing the curse binding the Huldra Prince, Sora took Nabac in and taught him the mental discipline and meditation that Zonthul ignored.
Nearly two decades Nabac meditated in the temple of Achuaknamm, keeping the Dragon Spirit at bay, remembering himself. Sora kept him secret from the other students and visitors of the temple, letting the Huldra prince live in peace and solitude. Then, not long ago, the temple was destroyed and Master Sora slain, by agents of another House of Elam. Nabac never who led the attack. Instead, he fled once more.
Without his sanctuary the Dragon Spirit began to take hold once more, and Nabac clawed at his own mind to protect himself. Now he found himself drawn inexorably back to the source of his curse, to Zonthul. It was on this journey that he learned the Dragon was calling to him, demanding his return, using its attack on Cloistered Abbey as bait. Nabac was on his way to the Abbey to protect Helena when his sister, Rhawunel, and her friends destroyed it.
The Forbidden Section
As the Iron Band regrouped from their battle, they searched the library of the Meteora. They knew in advance that a place such as this would have rare tomes and scrolls, and Tavion located a hidden passage which Tyrandriel opened with a swish of the Silver Talon.
Inside, heretical and forbidden tomes, locked with iron clasps, awaited. The Band of Iron searched through them, for the abbess, Mother Leigh, was far too busy tending to the wounded. They found the following:
- A Manual of Golems penned by the legendary archmage Ison Siranox of Galadron
The party stashed these treasures away to read over at a future time, along with the spellbook and research notes stolen from Euthynos
With what remained of the night the Band of Iron took their rest. Many tossed and turned, thinking back on the path that led them here. Tavion remembered his work with the Crown’s Men, near Kaliste in Borgondhi. He’d been sent to recover stolen goods, and stumbled on the bandit leader instead, sleeping off the effects of the exotic Sin’Kilah liquor. In a decisive moment, he chose not to kill the bandit leader, instead stealing documents that would go on to implicate the local guildmaster in nefarious dealings. On his return, he met Crevaine the Fox, notorious blackmailer, who praised him for his restraint. “Not every problem can be solved just by killing the right person, after all.”
With the spirits of the land speaking more and more in their ear, Ulreik Hras Halril thought back to their first lesson about magic in the University. The professor of transmutation presented them with Aqua Regia, an orange acid that can melt gold and platinum. “Acid, is like magic,” the professor explained. “Handled improperly, by the ignorant, it does nothing but destroy.” He stuck a piece of meat in the fluid and it bubbled and hissed. "But to the wise, it does not simply tear down, it is an agent of change. " The professor dissolved a gold coin, then precipitated it from the elixir. With a smattering of dust, he created a foam that solidified. Green, blue and white flames were procured through still other experiments. “A mage is one who knows how to hold and use this power. The more you expand your knowledge and focus your mind—” he gestured at the larger glass vats of aqua regia “the more magic you can wield. A spell is simply an application of that power, but instead of powders, metals, and reagents—” he gestured at the supplies surrounding him “the change is enacted through change within your mind. The words, gestures and reagents you use change you as you channel the magic, shaping it into the effect of the spell. Master this, and you will be a great wizard.”
Outside in the halls, Ulreik had met Euthynos for the first time. “That tired acid metaphor? Disgusting, really. You can’t compare the glory of the Dawn to some metal-eating chemical. Magic is pure, raw potential, guided by the will of the enlightened mind, and most people simply lack the perspective to wield it.” From that very moment, Ulreik suspected they wouldn’t get along with the noble born mage, and the idea of acid was impressed into their mind.
The Oath of the Ancients
As her brother and his lover reunited, Rhawunel looked out across the valley below the Meteora. Zonthul was slain, and into each blow she’d poured the pain and rage of her grief—the loss of her mother, Dakona. Of her father, Corik. Of her home, the glades of Angren. Of her brothers, scattered and driven forth.
Now she felt ready to let go of vengeance. Her true purpose was not simply to strike back at those who’d wrong her and her family, but to take up the burdens of rulership, to end the war between Humans and Huldra, and to protect the land from the dark forces conspiring to wreak war and destruction.
Her mind joined with theirs in the enchanted woodlands of the Heart of Angren, the Amethyst Pendant where their souls united to protect their child. Standing before her parents, she renounced the Oath of Vengeance, and asked her father to witness her new oath. With a hand upon her shoulders, he recited the ancient Oath of Gisirigs, and she rose as a true paladin of Tel’Maerlyth.
Kindle the Light
Shelter the Light
Preserve Your Own Light
Be the Light
The hallowed halls of the Cloister brought Tyrandriel back to the seminary in Vercinget. Raised there as an orphan, he found solace and meaning in the teachings of Our Triumphant Family. But the abbot of the seminary hated him. The ability to channel the celestial light of Blessed Child takes practice, discipline, years of piety and a deep spiritual connection, and Tyrandriel adapted so quickly to holy magic that the abbot mistrusted him.
On one fateful day, the abbot arranged to have Tyrandriel drugged. The next morning a fire broke out, burning down a villager’s home, and though the clergy tried to wake Tyrandriel he could not be roused. When the sun was high in the sky he rose with a start, learned he’d failed to help, and was summoned by the Abbot to answer for his laziness.
Dread filled his heart, for he knew that his days in the home he loved were numbered. As he walked down the long, torchlight halls of the seminary, he reached up to grab a strand of his…ash gray hair?
Suddenly, Tyrandriel stopped, for he remembered this moment, and it didn’t happen like this. He pinched himself and felt the pain far away, not in his body. He called out a challenge to Mairg, thinking himself caught in the power of her Crown, but nobody answered.
So down the twisting halls Tyrandriel walked, not the earnest acolyte of a faith that failed him, but the Dream Warden, Favored by Fortune. So he confronted the Abbot, and when the old man peered down at him to accuse him of failure and laziness, he retorted, challenging the abbot and accusing him of betrayal. At his words, and at his will, the Abbot blinked, stared, and then shattered into a thousand glittering bloodless pieces.
Tyrandriel then called out, for he knew he was not alone. Standing behind him, silently watching, was a figure of blowing, crumbling ashes, vaguely humanoid, nearly as tall as the half elf. On meeting the eyeless figure’s gaze, the Dream collapsed, and Tyrandriel awakened in the Cloistered Abbey.