After wishing the Argental Font to be beautifully integrated into the Artist District the heroes worriedly await the arrival of The Radiant Muse. While wording the wish as best they could the Muses nature is still fairly fickle and unpredictable.
The wait seemed longer than it was but soon the now familiar figure of the winged matriarch of these elves could be seen flying with intent. Red faced and clearly angry she first lands near the exposed glass pyramid that represented the roof of the newly created Sun Temple of Ospalar.
The elves nearby instantly drop to their knees as their “goddess” walks the perimeter of the structure, her hand gliding lightly along the glass surface. By the time she arrived back where she started her mood had changed. Anger replaced by a mild curiosity as she then turns to the “Outlanders” and purposefully approaches.
By the time she stood before the party Osond had arrived (at a run) catching up to his mistress. A look of concern on his face. The heroes were respectful with Din’dae and Grune leading the conversation and explaining briefly the effort of finding this lost temple and wishing it to a place where its beauty could truly be appreciated. Even Khaine and Almaran joined in adding tale of the wonderful mystic fountain in the chamber below and Khaine gesturing to the new entrance in a large stone pillar that led below ground. A brief pause, and it felt as if all held their breathe waiting her response.
“Show Me!” she commanded and immediately without insult Khaine and Almaran turned and led her down the stairs with Grune, Osond and Din’dae trailing behind her. All relieved that their plan was working so far.
The after walking down the stone steps and through the restored hallway the are greeted by tranquil sounds of the fountain as they reach the temple itself.
All were captured by the splendor of temple. Although they were nearly 50’ below ground, at this time of day sunlight filled the chamber with a prism effect from the glass pyramid to paint the walls in spots of color. The Muse moved in wonderment at the beauty, turning about slowly as she entered and eventually making her way to the fountain which seemed to have a rainbow hanging above it. Khaine was the first to speak saying that the Alliance thought it fitting that she be the first to drink from the waters here, to christen and bless this site of beauty. Before she could reply Din’dae produced a golden bejeweled goblet, filled it with the waters of the Argental Font, and on bended knee offered it to the Muse. Again there was a long pause, as she seemed to take a half step back from this pressure to drink. Osond seeing the moment in jeopardy offered to test the waters for her if she was concerned.
This was the push that she needed as she snapped at him for presuming she was concerned. See declared the honor SHOULD be hers and took the goblet and drank it down. At first she seemed pleased with herself and about to say something when her demeanor changed. She seemed stunned for a moment but recovered and turned away from the party. After a few deep breathes she turned back group, the edge of madness was gone from her eyes and tone of voice as she spoke. A single tear ran down her cheek as she spoke. She had a more regal barring and her words were measured but you could still hear a touch of sadness in them.
She first looked to Osond and said “you have served me better than I have desired for the fear I’ve caused you all to live under. I may never be able to repay that loyalty but I will endeavor to”. Then she looked at the Alliance and thanked them for clearing her mind of the madness with the waters of the Argental Font. Some of her memories were returning, including the loss of her sisters and her bouts of mad violence. While the pain is greatly dulled thanks to the waters magic, she would still need some time to process in peace. She would speak to them once she was ready. With that she glided out of the temple and departed for her aerie. Osond, bowing deeply to the Alliance before following behind her.
Breathing easier that the plan worked and the Muse was cured of her madness, the alliance considered their recent hard earned victories and planned their next steps. The Argental Font was reclaimed and a threatening faction defeated. Although there was a dangerous portent from Almaran of time running out, the Alliance decided they needed to take a few days to best prepare for what lay ahead of them. Aided by Almaran’s magic they would teleport to Acadimar for supplies and intelligence. Grune and Almaran would run point on this away trip with Khaine accompanying them as bodyguard and support. Din’dae opted to stay and watch over their gains in the Bantu Aspar to help ensure things will be stable upon the away teams return. Din’dae was concerned of other Aspari’s making a move or even the Midnight Brotherhood and Red Orcs.
A course agreed, they debriefed with the Boss, getting some valuable if dated intel. Also a name of a contact called Ingrid, and a sealed message for her. They pack some trade goods, and got a good nights. First light the following day they gathered. Din’dae wished his companions safe travels and warned his closes friend Khaine not to do anything too stupid and to keep his head on swivel. And on his shoulders as he and Din’dae were still wanted for treason by the Kingdom. To help hide is identity, Khaine stowed is Weldlander Armor and Ebon Fang. He traveled in simple leathers with his bow and kukri. Grune then cast a curse on him to disfigure his facial features. Din’dae made a few jokes but admitted Khaine no longer looked how many would expect him to. Satisfied they were ready the three gathered close and Almaran worked his arts.
In moments the three were somewhere else. Almaran had taken them to a place he had camped over a month ago just outside of Acadimar. A set of ancient standing stones he was oddly drawn to but never figured out why. They were in the foothills and out of the way so did make a perfect entry point for their return to civilization. The small group hiked down to the road from Dwarfwatch to the city and locked in their plans for entry and cover stories. A few hours outside the city they could see thick black smoke. Grune and Khaine knew that this far out there was nothing but homesteads and lone cottages. Grune wanted to investigate, but Khaine was insisting they needed to stay on mission. Almaran was the deciding vote and the three moved off the road along a trail that led towards the smoke.
They heard screams and crying as they approached with caution. Through the treeline they could see a pair of War Trolls, terrorizing a family of four. The home was on fire with one troll holding up the body of very bloody man in on hand and resting on his great sword with the other. The other troll was verbally tormenting and toying with a mother wielding a dagger trying to protect her two children. Both trolls were laughing and enjoying the sport with one mentioning in the tongue of giants that “they were right, picken’s are great here”. Having seen enough, the heroes sprang into action. Khaine had never faced trolls before but the tails he heard never mentioned they wore armor and wielded arms. Grune and Almaran had heard these and warned that they are military and often used as personal guards or elite soldiers to evil leaders.
The trolls met incoming heroes quickly, one of them unceremoniously releasing his hold on the father who drop like a ragdoll to the ground, clearly dead. The war trolls true to their name fought with some cunning and battle awareness, trying to use their reach to go advantage. They also quickly recognized Grune and Almaran as casters and moved to circumvent Khaine to attack his companions first. Khaine was able to keep one from advancing while Grune and Almaran wer forced to deal with the other. While the heroes did bleed in the battle, through power of arm and spell and moving to a new now, they were able to defeat and destroy two creatures. They secured the area and after a brief talk with the mother escorted her and her children to a neighboring farm before continuing on their journey.
Although delayed they arrived at the city gates at sunset. Almaran had taken Khaine’s magical items and shape changed into a bat. Then flew into the city to meet up with the others at the Silver Talon Inn. Grune and Khaine moved up the line with Khaine playing the role of servant to the dwarven cleric.
As they neared the gates Grune noticed a mounted man in red robes. Upon further study it seemed this individual was casting detect magic and scanning those entering the city. Khaine was glad he had opted for Almaran to take his gear as and orc sgt named Kah-gul with a grey wolf armband proceeded to give Grune a hard time about his gear. Grune conveyed that he was Cleric of Ospalar from Dwarfwatch and was on a pilgrimage to her temple here in Akadimar. This got them grudgingly through the gates with most focus on the gruff cleric and little attention to his big deformed servant.
Once in the city, Khaine could not help be feel a bit nostalgic and at least a little pleased. The last time he was here the city had suffered a surprise attack and was licking its wounds. That was a few months ago now and most signs of damage had been repaired. The city was well on its way to seeming normal and busy. Save for the very obvious guard presence who would randomly stop people on the street, especially of those people were well armed.
Moving with purpose and with Khaine’s knowledge of the city they make it to the Silver Talon and join Almaran at a table. The place is clean and frequented by the lower middle class. Mostly merchants and warehouse workers mangers and owners. Once there Khaine asks for a particular beer, the innkeeper seems surprised but says they are out of stock to which Khaine gives the appropriate counter phrase. The innkeeper then heads in the back for quite some time while other food and drinks are brought out. When he returns he returns to serving patrons at the bar only.
After an hour a plain faced but athletic looking barmaid comes from the kitchen, drops down some drinks at a separate table, then approaches the heroes telling them their room is ready and leads them upstairs. Once in the room with door closed she deftly draws a blade and has it to Khaine’s throat before the others can react. She demands to know how they learn the pass phrase. Khaine waves off Grune and Almaran saying this treating is to be expect, with hands out to his side he gives his name and a quick recant of the The Bosses words and that he has a message for her. She looks into his eyes to get s sense of motives and to determine if he was bluffing. Seemingly satisfied that he is who he is she steps back with her blades disappearing back into her clothing. She then says “all clear” and a mage named Winston appears in the corner of the room.
For the next few minutes they gave official introductions and compared notes. Mostly Ingrid brought them up to speed on recent events in the city as that was the current focus. She stated while trade has picked up martial law is still in effect and the Knight Marshall’s private guard are increasing in number. Rumors are floating in about monsters in the countryside but nothing is really seems to be done about it. Also that members of her organization are specifically being hunted. The Grey Wolves seem specifically focused on counter intelligence activities. There are two leaders to this group, and elven woman known as Sylhouette. The other leader is Rugar Tooth-Slayer, the Master of Spears. They’ve had to work in smaller cells to protect themselves which has greatly hampered the level and speed of intel gathering.
The heroes state their mission and needs here, and that their planned stay will need to be brief as they are preparing to face a significant threat in the lost city. She understands and shares the message from the Boss included directive to help the heroes any way she can, but to not jeopardize her cover. Winston will provide a safe place for Almaran to work, and she will handle acquiring and selling through her contacts. This should limit exposure. She strongly encourages Grune and Khaine to make their trek to the temples as they said to the gate guard. The Marshal’s men have proven to be quite thorough and will surely send someone to follow-up.
With that she and Winston depart, the mage turning invisible before she opens the door. She laughs shouting “you’ll need more coin than that boys” and slams the door behind her. She can heard laughing and complaining to herself as she walks down the hall.
With that the heroes ponder in silence, wondering just what they have come home to.