An Early Morning
Delen was asleep in his modest dwelling and the sun had not yet risen. Suddenly a loud banging on his door startled him to consciousness and a booming voice on the other side caused him to snap to attention. “Delen wake yourself.” Delen found four very large half-giants wearing the garb of the Shadow Guard at his door. They have come to escort Delen to the Temple of Thought. Fearing that some of his evening activities had been discovered, he followed the guards and prepared himself for the worst.
Delen was escorted to the Temple of Thought near the Naggaramakam. Along the way, he saw shadows moving out of the corner of his eye, but did not recognize them. He was escorted to a large receiving chamber with a stone statue of the sorcerer-king himself. Three of Nibenay’s high consorts were present with their guards, but none acknowledge Delen’s arrival. Delen recognized the consorts as Siemhouk, Djena and Rejan.
After almost an hour, the statue of Nibenay stirred to life and its eyes flashed blue and the party appeared looking haggard. Djena asked for the Stone and Iorskan handed it to her. Smiling she left the room with her guards. The statue then spoke…
Well done adventurers, you have helped secure the safety of our city. There is another task that you will perform for me.”
There is no doubt that this was an order and not a request. Rejan spoke of recent attempts to open an iron mine in the Black Spine Mountains about 2 days travel from the city. While the initial prospects appeared good, once digging started, there had been no word from the mines. Since the loss of communication, there were increases in attacks by gith. The survivors reported that the gith were armed with metal weapons and wore metal armor, something most unusual. A small patrol was sent to investigate and they have not been heard from since. Rejan commanded the party to travel to the mine and determine the fate of the miners and investigate the strange gith activity.
A journey to the Black Spine Mountains was in line with Iorskan’s desires to find his clan’s ancient stronghold and the party accepted to mission. Siemhouk stepped forward and promised a reward for the party’s service to the city. The gift, she says, is to help Kira unlock her potential. She addressed Delen…
We shall see how much knowledge you have uncovered since your training ended. Where do souls go when the body dies?”
Delen attempted to answer the questions accurately, but not too quickly. He had guessed that he was not being brought here for punishment but for some other purpose. He felt confident that he was able to answer her questions well, but not too well.
Yes, the souls travel to the Gray where they dissolve into nothingness. It is because of this that he raising of the dead is nearly impossible and always fraught with peril. However, we have among us someone from the Gray who is not a soul from our world. She has powers over life that have not been seen on Athas in thousands of years. I will help her unlock some of her potential and a gift from the past will be yours.
Seimhouk motioned Kira over to her and laid her hands on Kira’s head. Kira felt a calming presence, totally quieting the animal rage that she had learned to control. Kira will feel Seimhouk sifting through her memories of past events, spending time on her revitalization of the land outside Altaruk and her restoration of the dead in Necropolis. Seimhouk then pointed to Iorskan and commanded that he hand over The Shadowstaff, the scrap of Gwyn’s flesh and her dragonling. With all those components, and an enormous effort of will, Kira pulled Gwyn’s soul from King and caused the scrap of flesh to reform into Gwyn! Kira then fell to the floor exhausted.
Seimhouk addressed Delen again…
Delen, you will accompany them and keep an eye on Gwyn. Make sure that there are no lingering, undesirable consequences. Kira is exhausted and may remain here with me to recover her strength and learn more of her powers. You will start your journey today and must return to the city by the third day of the Festival of the Highest Sun.
House Shom Caravan
Kira agreed to stay behind and the rest of the party retired to a dining room to rest before heading out to the Black Spine Mountains. Delen was introduced to the rest of the party and Gwyn told them of the fuzzy memories that she had from the last two months. Jarvix and Elleandra were both very excited that she had returned and Iorskan grudgingly admitted that he was impressed. Way-lynn and Delen, having never met Gwyn were more impressed with her return from death.
After resting and checking their supplies the party headed out from the city, northeast along the road towards the Black Spine Mountains. They reached the crossroads and decided to camp for the night before heading into the wilderness. As they were making camp a large caravan flying the colors of House Shom approached and also made camp. This was one of the largest caravans they had seen with three giant mekillot wagons and over a hundred soldiers.
To the party’s surprise, one of the guards approached their camp with an offer of hospitality. The caravan had been away from Nibenay for almost a month and was eager for news. They offered to trade information about the city-state of Raam, where they were returning from. The party agreed and was escorted to the camp where they met Temmnya Shom, daughter of the the head of House Shom.
Iorskan told of the dangers around Giustenal and the potential for serious conflict in the region in the near future. Jarvix mentioned what they knew of the fate of Abalach-Re, although he mentioned nothing of his group’s involvement in the events. Gwyn and Delen offered information on potential sources of profit for House Shom. Temmnya listened and responded with information on the current groups attempting to control of Raam, after the disappearance of its sorcerer-queen. The party found Temmnya to be more friendly and likeable than any other member of House Shom they had met, although they were still cautious around her.
The following morning the two groups went their separate ways; Temmnya headed towards Nibenay and the party venturing into the foothills of the Black Spine Mountains.
Black Spine Mountains
The party decided to search for the dray stronghold, much to the excitement of Iorskan. All throughout the day, they searched for signs of the fortress, each helping as best they could. Way-lynn focused on searching for natural features that might indicate the presence of trails or roads used long ago. Delen, who appeared to have an excellent head for history, spent the day pointing out features in the mountains that he recognized from ancient legends.
Elleandra attempted to move quickly about the mountains in an effort to scout out as many locations as possible. She relied on her magic to ease the effort less but drew the attention of a small patrol of gith, including a gith adept with the Way. The party easily defeated them and discovered they were indeed using metal weapons and wearing metal armor.
Jarvix and Gwyn moved about the mountains together. Jarvix keeping his keen eyes open for the fortress or markers that might indicate they were headed in the right direction. Gwyn used her strength to push past the numerous piles of stone that blocked their way. Unfortunately she was apparently still recovering from her death and carelessly caused an avalanche of rock which drew the attention of another gith patrol. It was larger than before and included a strange gith knight wearing metal armor of an outlandish design. Once again the party was victorious and continued their search.
Delen eventually was able to sense the location of a strong source of arcane magic and directed the party to what he hoped was the stronghold. He uncovered what appeared to be the entrance to the mine instead. Since the day was spent and the party did want to investigate the mine, they made camp for the night with the intention of investigating the iron mine in the morning. They only had three days to explore the mines, find the stronghold and travel back to Nibenay by the third day of The Festival of the Highest Sun.