Gloriana

Epilogue

When the light of the Third Day was fading, and the sages and seers of the world saw the first rays of the Fourth breaking over the horizon, the Band of Iron went their separate ways. They had defied the wrath of a Sovereign of the world. An evil from before the dawn was destroyed, blown like ashes upon the winds of penance. And though the wars of humans and elves alike left many scars, there was hope for the northern kingdoms that peace, at long last, might reign.

Aine gathered allies and set about ending the rule of her spiteful grandfather, weaving plots and whispers to forge a path for herself to the throne. With her mother as emissary and her father as an adviser, her rise to power had only just begun.

Bromin eventually set upon the long road north, through Gloriana and the Great Frozen Wilds, and returned to Eldfjall a hero and true son—and, in time, King Under the Mountain. He still meets with his friends in the halls of the Golden Bough, wherever their journeys may take them.

Gaemund yearned to stay with Rhawunel his love and help her fight to restore the lands of Angren, but first he had an oath to fulfill. In exchange for the freedom of Lief Callasby, he returned to Skuljt grotto. There he dreamed for half a year while the great sage Komru searched for lingering signs of the Root of Sorrows. When his duty was served, he rejoined Rhawunel and Caill, sought out the Ghost Slayer Ivory, and began restoring the ancient order of Blood Hunters.

Some say Mo Rel is still hunting witches to this day. The Caioneadh’s pact bound her, and the Northern Kingdoms knew chaos and blood for years to come as mortal monarchs fell to her knife. She set out to find Morwel’s lost consort in a place not even the stars could see, to slay the witch Atropa, and eventually to bring even the ancient Caioneadh itself to heel.

Nashia’s curiosity did not let her settle long. Though she longed to avoid attention, eventually the scholars of Achuaknam, the monastery where she’d studied, found her, and implored her to return. They sought the wisdom of the Lightbearer, and whether she felt she could offer that or not, it was a chance to chase Light Dragons and other wonders across the cosmos—and, perhaps, to repay the kindness of Master Sora.

Rhawunel joined Aine for a time, standing side by side as sister queens until Huldra and Humans found a way to live in peace together. With the Summer Mantle in custody and the Winter Mantle her birthright, she quested to find the lost power of Autumn. Some day, she hoped, she would unite the four huldra queens on the slopes of Gleann Chroi, and the spirits of the seasons would strip Ri Searbhas of his power. Then, perhaps, the huldra could find salvation.

Tavion and Caius, reunited at last, would not rest until Jurian Dunlan was restored to his rightful lands. Warrick was still out there somewhere, and the former Terranimbus Knight and assassin knew they could use their skills to punish the wicked and protect the innocent throughout the North.

Tyrandriel, Dragon of the New Day, remains shrouded in mystery—just the way he’d like it. He took the person who was once Mairg and vanished, finding a place where she could walk the path of penance. Where he went afterwards none know, but the Gray Wanderers grew in number and knowledge. Soon they wielded true power over dreams, using their magic to heal wounds and hearts across all the kingdoms. Wine, song, and mischief spread in his untrackable wake. When at last he left the worlds and took up his long watch, it was over a world more bountiful in fortune, more rich in laughter, and echoing with tales of the legendary Band of Iron.

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Summer's Sorrow

They are coming.

It was winter in the Caonach Vale, and yet the snow would not fall. The Summer Queen sat upon her throne of cedar, crowned in roots, her skin a terrible pallor, her once shining gold hair turned colorless and thin. The music of her court had at last fallen silent. For any who might have seen her, she was alone.

But she was not alone.

Do you hear the stars, Queen Mother?

Her lovely hands trembled upon the living wood of her chair. She did not want to hear the stars. Her mind was filled with tumult—the screams and sobs of countless mortals, thousands of them, all across the mortal world, trapped in nightmare. Each cry of agony flowed back through Dream to her crown, made her strong. Her magic thrummed in the ground below and across the Northern Kingdoms. The fire of Summer burned away the cold of winter, her mists flowed down every mountain and surrounded every mortal town. No Huldra queen had ever wielded this kind of power.

But through the agony of imprisoned dreamers, she still heard a song ringing out across the vault of heaven.

TARAS. ELEANOR. TYRANDRIEL.

Yes, she could hear the stars. And their song filled her empty heart with dread.

TARAS. ELEANOR. TYRANDRIEL.

Listen. LISTEN. The voice was a sneer, a hiss, filled with fury and urgency. It demanded her attention and focus. You thought the light of Runda’s lantern was to be feared? Iron comes to Tumlaire, borne on wings of fire.

TARAS. ELEANOR. TYRANDRIEL.

She knew already, for she felt the roots of her power burning in the fifth kingdom. She heard Vindur’s howl of agony when the Celestial Lights danced across the sky. In the Emerald Pools, she saw the storm giants fleeing from the earth, saw the Fire of Eldfjall rampaging through Terranimbus.

TARAS. ELEANOR. TYRANDRIEL.

Iommor died, and the noon children live. She shut her eyes. Angren burned, and the noon children live. Her breaths grew sharp, ragged. Vindur flees, and the noon children live. The Mother of Mists turned her head, recoiling. All you have sacrificed, all you have betrayed, has been for nothing. Mairg leapt from her throne. The fires of Summer flickered around her, cloaking her in bright light. Would that you had never borne a son, that Ri Searbhas never took you as a bride. The Queen Mother fled down the steps of her garden, towards the moss curtain that led to the Emerald Pools—the source of her power. Better for you to have faded away and vanished than to rule your people. Inside the sacred grotto, the light from the pools rippled against the walls, cast a distorted, flickering shadow on the rock. The Summer Queen cried out in anguish and rage, reaching for the crown of roots on her brow. Thorns dug into her flesh, blood trickled down to her hair, and her fair arm strained, as it to pull it off and cast it aside. Her shadow looked back, daring her to do it.

Then her hand fell back to her side. She turned away from the wall and looked down into the pool. A cruel, bitter visage gazed back, its veins black, its flesh wound with roots, its eyes orbs of blazing blue light.

“Yes,” she whispered. “It would have been better. But it is not so.” The shape in the water waited, a cruel smirk on its lips. “It was not supposed to end like this. My beautiful son, taken from me. The iron savages triumphant.” And yet, so it ends. By your weakness. By your failure.

The sound of scraping metal sounded in the grotto. In her hands lay bare a silver knife, its hilt of ivory, carved in the shape of a bear. Iommor’s knife. His last gift.

“And yet, so it ends.” Crimson drops of summer blood broke the emerald surface of the waters. It spread through the pools, blotting out the reflection that stood there. A voice rang out in Tumlaire’s heart, a voice that changed from the defeated Summer Queen to something else, something icy, cruel, malevolent, and yet still hers.

“Ar mhaithe le fuath, tá súil agam"
For hate’s sake, I forsake hope
“Ar mhaithe le brón, diúltaíonn mé an-áthas”
For sorrow’s sake, I reject joy
Ar mhaithe le fear, tréigim síocháin
“For wrath’s sake, I break all peace”
Nefastus! “Nefastus!”

NEFASTUS.”

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The Council of Nails
Chapter Three, Episode 2

Leaving the Meteora

With their latest victory over Zonthul, spirits were high. Now it fell to our heroes to protect Nabac An’Angren and Helena von Borgondhi from Mairg’s wrath. They departed the Meteora and began their journey back to the Tower of Nails.

As they passed along the Bulwark mountains, Tyrandriel had uneasy dreams. The ground opened beneath his feet, a purple fog rose up towards him, and a figure of rippling glass rose to confront him. He met its challenge, bending the dreamscape around himself, refusing to abide by the mysterious presence’s rules. The figure revealed itself as Komru, the Dokkalfar Sage, leader of their people. He called Tyrandriel to Skuljt Grotto to train in the arts of Oneiromancy, and fulfill his destiny as the next Dream Warden.

The Oppression of Fernsby

The Band of Iron came next to the town of Fernsby, where first they’d met Bordul Farraud and encountered the Dokkalfar. Townsfolk suffered at the hands of Serell the Allegiant, a brash young knight eager to please Warrick and King Ralzemon by raising money for the invasion of Marchen at his peoples’ expense.

Seeing the cruel treatment and outrageous taxation, and the abuse by the Mercenaries occupying the town, the Band of Iron resolved to free Fernsby from Serell’s control. They met Tilly Carosi who was already there seeking to unravel the knight’s power. They agreed to work together, and continued on their way.

Dreams and Truth

It was then that Tyrandriel and Mo Rel parted ways with the Band of Iron, traveling to the ravine of the singing ferns and plunging into the darkness of Skuljt Grotto. Tyrandriel went to begin his training with Komru, while Mo Rel worked side by side with Dokkalfar smiths. With their help, she forged the bones of Zonthul into a sword, wrapped in his scales, and set with a shining citrine stone. They wove magic over it, sinking deep into marrow itself, so the gem would glow when invisible creatures lurked nearby and the blade would buzz when pointed towards them. When the spells were complete and the sword was ready, Mo Rel named it Veritas: Truth.

For the cleric of the Laughing God, the next two weeks would test the mettle of his will, subjecting his mind to deception, terror, and rigorous discipline. Komru was a relentless taskmaster, infiltrating and manipulating his dreams at every moment until the young Oneiromancer learned to sniff out and counter these attacks. In time, he found a moment of silence, where he was alone in his own mind. Well—almost alone. The ashen spectre of Marcus Rilani, the First Dream Warden, came to him, as confused as Tyrandriel.

At last Tyrandriel and Mo Rel emerged back into the light, a new sword at the side of one, and the Power of Oneiromancy in the hands of the other.

The Council of Nails

So did the Band of Iron reconvene at their stronghold, the Tower of Nails. Their allies and loyal vassals had gathered from across the Northern Kingdoms, eager to aid the cause of bringing peace between Borgondhi and Marchen.

There was much to attend to—their Chamberlain, Frederic Arcistoth, noted that the treasury needed tending to. Seeking aid in training their guards and leading the army they would surely need to raise, the Band of Iron turned to Jurian Dunlan, enlisting him as their Constable and swearing to help him recover his rightful fief. Helena von Borgondhi took on the role of Chancellor, and settled in at the tower to begin plying the nobles of the realm. Remembering her sharp wit, network of contacts across the land, and penchant for getting local stories, they entreated Tilly Carosi to join as their Spymaster, a task she was eager to take up. Finally, to manage matters arcane, they selected Nabac as their Magus.

However, the Huldra sorcerer could not abide the curse of the Tower of Nails. To stock their treasury for the struggle to come, and to secure a hidden redoubt where Mairg’s magic could not find them, the Band of Iron dispatched Botulf Arcistoth to find the enchanted valley of Zonthul’s lair. His treasure, and his lair, would be theirs.

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Interlude -- The Garden of the Gods
Interlude

A thousand stars looked up at themselves, from the glass-still waters of a silent lake. One tree blossomed at its heart, its fruit dripping with golden nectar, its boughs alive with golden light. Marble walls rose all around, to shield this secret garden from the eyes of gods and Giants. And by the unrippling waters there stood five knights, all shining, all gleaming, all cloaked in cloud-stuff, all armed with thunder.

First, with coiling streams for a cape, with a sword swift as the tide, a helm crowned in silver, plate that stretched like the hide of a great manta, the Knight of the Waves. Water streamed about her as a shield, and her eyes bore the terrible power of the tides.

Second, burning bright as the tree at the garden’s heart, crowned in a helm of five glorious rays, emblazoned with the phoenix’s sign, arrayed in light and bearing a sword of blinding fury, the Knight of the Sun, an instrument of wrath and judgement.

Third, as dark as her compatriot was bright, masked and hooded, silver-shrouded, third-eye brimming with held-back light, the Knight of the Moon, the quiet killer, the secret servant.

Fourth, full-helmed, eyeless and burning, with axe ablaze and fire in hand, the Knight of Flames, Divine Executioner, Mystic Master and Inexorable Punisher.

And last, in silence, was the Knight of the Winds. Plumes sliced from the wings of a Cloud Ray blew back from his helm. Green enamel glistened from his peerless armor, inlaid with gold. An azure stone burned in the pommel of his sword, whose metal was forged on the anvils of the storm giants, whose grooves hummed with lightning, whose clashing was thunder. A cloak woven of all four winds, invisible, hung from his shoulders. He watched, and though his eyes were clear beneath his helm, his heart trembled in time with a name spoken far below.

Three thunders broke upon the horizon. Three thunders rumbled in their hearts. Three thunders roared into their silence, the three-fold will and wrath of God.

There was the thunder of titan hammers striking swords of lightning, each blow against a night-black anvil echoed in the hearts of giants and mortals alike. There was the thunder of a beating heart, a titan flame burning in desperation, and though its screams were silenced, they shook the bones of those who fed upon them.

And at last, the thunder of the Voice of God, whose will was born upon the wind. Marble walls bellowed and the sky itself spoke. The waters of that secret lake resisted, withstood, then yielded up a single ripple that broke the mirror surface of the stars. All five knights knelt in deference.

THE KIN OF YOUR BIRTH GROW PETULANT

THEY WOULD TRESPASS AGAINST HEAVEN

TEAR THE CURTAINS I SET TO SHIELD THEM

DEFILE THE PATHS I BUILT TO WARD THEM

DARKEN THE LIGHTS I LIT TO GUIDE THEM

CHILDREN OF MY CHOICE, GO UNTO THEM

LEAD MY OFFSPRING AND HUMBLE THEM

CONFOUND AND OVERTHROW THEM

FOR THE DEFIANCE OF MY OWN BLOOD

MUST BE EVER REPAID WITH THEIRS

The echo of the Voice of God remained in their bones and their hearts as they rose to their feet. Five knights raised their eyes to the piercing stars above, stars that burned without clouds or skies to dull them. The marble gates of the garden opened, and beyond it lay the palaces of Terranimbus. They heard the trumpet of mighty horns, the bellowing of titan warriors, drums made from elephant hides.

Their own kin, the Knights of Terranimbus, awaited them, and as their vanguard, the feckless children of Vindur—shadows that loomed above their heads, great bristling shapes with clubs like trees, spears like lightning, whose fists fell like catapult stones.

Last of them all, the Knight of Winds, hesitated as his legions knelt before him. He looked over his fellow mortals, armed for war against the kingdom below. He sniffed the air and the foul musk of giants, pacing and waiting for the call to arms, met him. In his mind, he stood at the edge of a tower, a mortal at his mercy, fear in their eyes.

But all of that fell aside. God had called him to war. God willed it. And if God willed it, so did he.

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Warden's Respite

There are warm, lazy mornings where though you rise from bed, the heavy covers never seem to leave you. The air itself is a blanket, sounds are softened, the world is still and doesn’t come inside. Days when the fire crackles though there’s snow outside, summers where the sun pours in through the windows, springtimes when you’ve slept late and the morning’s nearly over.

So it was inside. Tyrandriel rose with a snap, greeted by silence. It was warm and bright, a soft light that came in from the rooms beyond. For the first time in an eternity he was alone—truly alone. He rolled out of bed with a yawn, but the feather-stuffed bed didn’t make a single ruffling sound. Bare feet scuffed the wood floors, oddly soft and warm, silent.

It was another dream, of course—like so many places in dreams, the cottage was intimately familiar, yet Tyrandriel had never seen it before. A glance outside the cottage showed him the spires and honeycombed caverns of Skuljt Grotto, bathed in the bright lights and soft shadows of an impossible morning. But the stillness of the air told him that none of his relentless mentors had followed him. The sage, Komru, could hide anywhere in his mind, weaving traps and challenges into memories and visions alike, threatening, chasing and testing his strength of will. But in this place, the dokkalfar had not followed him.

In all the stillness there were three sounds—the beating of his own heart, the rise and fall of his lungs—carryovers from the Waking World beyond—and a faint ringing hum. It sounded like the morning light was passing over the rim of a crystal chalice, pure and soft.

The door to his bedchamber, a small, cozy room with furs on the floor, a silent fireplace by the wall, wine, plush chairs, and tokens of his faiths—all of them—lay open. The half-elf had to bend his neck to pass through into the hall beyond. Down a long, narrow passage of dark wood he came into a great dining chamber. The table was shoved up against the wall, plates of leftover food from a grand feast lay strewn about, and the glass windows that ran from floor to lofty ceiling were shuttered—except for one.

Morning light streamed through at a sharp angle. Motes of dust floated motionless in the ray of sun, as still as though the air itself was holding its breath. In all the room not a single thing moved, but hanging in the beam was a single, shining, circle of golden glow: a coin, bearing the half-smiling, half-sorrowful mask of the Laughing God. Light and sound rang out from this single glimmering beacon.

Long strides crossed the distance, silent still, and Tyrandriel paused in the comfortable shadows. A piece of his mysterious birthright floated before his eyes, caught in a timeless moment. And as he gazed, standing mirror-like across from him, another shape looked also.

It was a crumbling mass of grey white flakes, a maddened whipping froth of dry ashes, caught in a thousand winds, blowing a thousand directions. It was like a man-shaped figure of light in a room filled with swirling dust, illuminating only part of the storm. Gray and gaunt, flickering but motionless, it stared at the golden coin.

Then, with halting caution, it stretched out a dissolving appendage into the ray of light. The blurry approximation of a hand opened, palm up, beneath the gift of the Laughing God. Gazing at Tyrandriel, the eyeless shape tilted what should be its head, a voiceless question, a silent inquiry.

And the coin began to fall.

What do you do?

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Freedom for Fernsby
Chapter 3 Episode 2

Adventure Summary

  • Treasury Start: -172.16 gp
  • Treasury End: 1,153.47 gp
  • Item Crafted: Eye of Zonthul
  • Item Crafted: Veritas
  • Hirelings Recruited: Dunlan Rebels (40)
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Interlude--Triumphant Apocrypha

In the forbidden library of the Meteora, the Band of Iron found books written at the time of the church’s founding, but not familiar to any scholar. They took these tomes for further study.

The first work details the journey of Blessed Child and her companions across the sands of Sharan and to the distant jungles of Danoks, a chapter not recounted in the main tales of Our Triumphant Family. One passage that stands out is recorded below.

Before the child a path of light interwoven appeared, of reds and blues and every shade of glory. It wound between all worlds known and unknown, in places untold of in mortal ken. Every color of the serpent’s feathers were found there, and at the voice and flute of the singer it danced. Asked the child, “Where does this way lead?”

Laughed the singer, “To Thunder’s court and beauty’s fonts, to moonlit lodges and dragon’s bones, to sandy spires and sleeping groves. Through fairy lands and somber halls. To cities silent and places dark, far above the stars.”

Blood was shed into the Pools of Fire where the Dokkalfar stand vigil, and parted in silence before the silver song. Dread of the Wyrm’s thunder chased after them. Valerian, grim of countenance, his flesh turned sepulchral where the desperate shades grasped him. With ancient chords the Singer granted him succor, and lifted a burning mark from his eyes. When hung the sky oer their heads, burning strongest against the vault of heaven, then did the Silver Singer bless the child with Valerian’s sign, Dragon of Brightest Noon.


The Annotated Mordavian Transcripts

Came to the Dokkalfar Grotto a man of gold. He came up from the Pools of Fire and was set upon by the deep watchers. In his arms a shade clinging to flesh, a daughter woven of gossamer and glass. They saw he was made of flesh and gold, not a spirit or devouring demon. How was it he came from below, unheard and unlooked for?

(Pools of Fire—the Sovereign Wells are the very roots of the Underworld, below even the realms of Ramius and the Dead. It is likely Taras returned from his quest via the Well of Fire.)

I am TARAS, said he, and I have come from the Gates of Death. I tore them from their hinges and conquered Death, and I return with my daughter. Let none prevent me. Said the watchers, all the kingdoms have heard the din of the wrenching gates. We will not prevent you. Speak with the Sage and rest.

(The Gates of Death—literal reference. Ramius’ underworld, conquered by Chaun during the time of the Bale, was in Taras’ time and is to this day surrounded by great Marble Walls, held by an Adamantine Gate, and guarded by the Charnel Hound. The legends hold that Taras slew the hound in combat to gain passage).

A meal was set before TARAS and his daughter, who ate but little. The Sage saw that TARAS was filled with fire and light. A new day comes, said he, for you are the Dragon of the Brightest Noon. When Dusk, Night and Dawn are born anew, what will you become? Said TARAS, my people are beset by the King of Storms and his sons, the Four Winds. I will overthrow them as I have overthrown Death.

_(Dragon of the Brightest Noon—born of Gold Dragon and Mortal Kind, this may be a literal reference. The King of Storms of course refers to Vindur, Sovereign of the Skies, and his Knights of Terranimbus, whose chieftains are the Four Winds)

Ours is the Moonless Night. We know the deep ways and the secret paths, the Road of Seven Veils and the Root of Sorrow. If you learn the Dragon’s song, you will walk the four worlds as one—but there will be no new covenant if you do not heed the Dokkalfar, who keep the Pools of Fire, the Scintillating Path, and the Fifth Kingdom, said the Sage

(The Fifth Kingdom—when the Dawn World ended, the Divine Will of the Gods of Before coalesced into the Otherworld and the Alfar’s pockets of creation, but the DIvine Vision of the ancient deities was not included in this plan. It became the Fifth Kingdom, the Worlds of the Dreaming. Many accounts of fairies and other entities haunting mortal dreams exist, and witches/other practitioners have shown the power to reach out through this world.

True Oneiromancy, however, is exceedingly rare)

We walk the world of Mortals. The Sky Kingdom makes war upon us. I have sundered the gates of the Underworld, and the Fair People keep their ways secret. I have the counsel of Silver-Clad Jonil and the wisdom of the DARASTRIX. Yet of kingdoms I know four, said TARAS.

Paths of mind and wandering, barred to the children of Dusk, Dawn and Night. Enshrouding all as a mist, bending to the wills of the learned, flowing through all kingdoms, reaching into the shadows of the soul. A fog that conceals us from Beyond the Stars. You walk the land at night without seeing your own feet.

Three paths are there to the Fifth Kingdom. First is the Scintillating Path, the Secret of the Sage. It is barred by ash and embers. The Path of Seven Veils winds through all kingdoms. TARAS Golden asked of the Path of Seven Veils. It is all that remains of Seosh and Seosha, who battled each other beyond the Seventh Gate. Now it winds between the worlds, invisible to the unlearned, perilous to the unwise. It is kept by the Queen of Stars and the King of Storms, your foe.

(Scintillating path—uncertain, may not be historical. See note below on the relationship between prophecy and record among the Dokkalfar)

(Path of Seven Veils—obvious link to the tale of Seosha, Dragon Queen of Sharan. Unlikely to refer to her Shining Path connecting the Northern Kingdoms, Pearl Sea, Sunswept Lands and Dragon Lands together. Texts of Ison Siranox likely contain more information, or primary sources in Sharan itself).

TARAS Golden asked of the Root of Sorrow. A tree grew in the Fifth Kingdom, with roots that spread beyond the stars. They drank from pools of suffering and grew fat on hate’s carrion. But the Phoenix came to roost in its boughs, and burned it to ash. The dead roots remained, never growing, ever mouldering, wound between the kingdoms. Who wears those roots as a crown will send their will across the wilds and the Fifth Kingdom.

(This passage above all others suggests that the Mordavian Transcripts do not date to the early Second Day. Modern scholarship suggests that the Tablets were an invention and the transcripts were produced as a later catalogue of events. But Ison SIranox’s account matches these records, and the events described above do not match up until the LATE second day)

(All of this points to the Tablets not as a work of record, but of prophecy. The Sage’s power over Dreams may have oracular capabilities, seeing far into the future.)

(That aside, references to the Root of Sorrow stretch back to the Fall of Luminias in the time of legends. Talk of Ashes and Embers did not emerge until the strange The Grey Wanderers began to walk the land. The events described in this passage are believed to have occurred during Blessed Child’s exodus to the far west.)

Asked TARAS golden of the Crown of Roots. Only the Caoineadh of the Starless Market can weave such a crown. Asked TARAS golden of the Starless Market, and said the sage:

Take a sheer black stone in hand
Go where mountains meet the land
When clouds conceal the moonless sky
The starless market’s gates are nigh

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The Dragon of the Final Dusk
Chapter 3 Episode 1

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.

The Lightbearer

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.

FinalDusk.png

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

Visions

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 Dreamwarden

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.

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Rhawunel's Challenge
A Song of the Fourth Day

Dragon, come and face me!
I speak for one and all
Stand forth and do battle
Heed Tel’Maerlyth’s call

Your reign on earth is over
We are the Iron Band
And on this day I swear that you
Will perish by our hand

I am Dakona’s Daughter
Of Angren am I born
I am the Heir of Winter
To Gisirgis I am sworn

My guardian, Brave Gaemund
Tarah’s Seventh Son
Each blow you strike, he bears with me
Until the day is won

My kin, the Princess Aine
Whose life you come to claim
She placed her faith in me and I
Will fight you in her name

By Bromin’s brew, I conquer
His song is with me now
I raise my glass to the master
Of the Golden Bough

My mantle is of gossamer
I mock your dragon spells!
A gift to me from Mo Rel
Hero of the Mushroom Dells

On Arie’s winds, I meet you
With a gift of blinding speed
The Lightbearer Anoints Me
To do this mighty deed

By Tavion, I curse you,
Though that’s not his only name
Vengeance for house Dunlan!
And to your friend, the witch, the same!

I am by fortune favored
I hear the phoenix cry
The Dreamwarden stands with me
And on this day, you die

To the skies I come to meet you
Born aloft by Hras Halril
By magic and by wisdom
And the power of their will

So dragon, come and face me!
I speak for one and all!
Stand forth, and do battle
Heed Tel’Maerlyth’s call!
_

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The Dragon's Due
Chapter 2, Episode 7

Founded early after the rise of Gloriana, the Cloistered Abbey is a place for the troubled faithful. Given the emphasis Our Triumphant Family places on community, sealing oneself off from the world is a rare calling. Most who do so bear deep wounds or have difficulty dwelling among others, and so they retreat to a small, carefully curated family of love and faith.

It was to these solitary souls that the green dragon Zonthul came, hunting the exiled princess Helena von Borgondhi. And to her aid, and the dragon’s doom, on snow-white elk with eyes of blue flame, riding the moonlight itself, came the Iron Band.

The Meteora

Built in a cleft in the mountains, the Cloistered Abbey was divided into two sections: the lower abbey, for the majority of the faithful, and the Meteora, clinging to the mountains high above. When the Iron Band descended from Cloigeann ’s lodge upon the moon, primal blood roaring in their hearts, they came to do battle.

They descend on the Meteora, where Mother Leigh tended to the fearful and wounded denizens of the cloister. From room to room the Iron Band sought Aine ’s mother.

Then came the dragon. With a terrible roar and breath of toxic gas, Zonthul smashed into the roof of the ancient cloister. The Iron Band was ready for their foe. They scattered throughout the building, using it as cover, spreading out to avoid the Dragon’s magic and terrible breath.

Trice Zonthul came against them, thrice they eluded him, and spells and arrows dealt terrible blows to the dragon’s hide. While battle raged without, Tavion Gervis found a hidden chamber in the chapel above. Inside waited Helena von Borgondhi, armed only with a dagger, hiding from her captor of old.

Trapped in the meteora, the party contemplated fleeing to The Golden Bough until the dragon left. But after years of quiet monastic life, there was no spirit of merriment in that place. Even as they spoke, ice chilled the blood of Tyrandriel. Mists flowed in across the land and roots burst from the rocks below the Meteora. Mairg’s malevolent power, the grasp of the Crown of Roots, was upon them. Despair and terror clouded their minds, though the Iron Band stood strong. They were running out of time.

Outside, Zonthul let loose a shattering roar, and took wing from the Meteora. His wings were scarred, his scales dripping blood, his eyes burned with emerald rage. As he’d tried to devour the Iron Band, Rhawunel called out a challenge. For Angren, for Gisirgis, for Tel’Maerlyth, she warned him, any blow he struck against her allies would burn against his flesh. Only by facing her would he escape this fate.

And the dragon heard her call.

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